The U.S.-Mexico border (Pic by Antanith, via Flickr)

The Republican Party of Sarasota County has launched a petition supporting the passage of an Arizona-style immigration enforcement law for Florida.

The petition calls for a “stand against illegal immigration,” support for “a strong national border” and opposition to the “use of $5.5 Billion of American taxpayer dollars to support the law breaking illegal immigrants residing in the State of Florida.”

The petition adds that the federal government has failed “to control our country’s borders and protect American citizens from the crimes committed and costs incurred by illegal immigrations,” and calls for support of “the 2010 Immigration Law passed by the State of Arizona.”

Despite claims from immigration restrictionist groups, the Obama administration has deported a record number of unauthorized immigrants and has continued supporting the controversial immigration enforcement Secure Communities program. The Department of Homeland Security’s 2013 budget, released in February, included overall cuts to the agency, but secured funding for Secure Communities.

In the ongoing legal battle over Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration enforcement law, which will be taken up by the Supreme Court Wednesday, members of Florida’s congressional delegation have signed court briefs on both sides of the issue.

While two Florida Democrats have signed on to oppose Arizona’s law, three Florida Republicans signed a brief supporting the measure, which has served as a model for other states and brought to the forefront questions about how states can enforce existing federal immigration laws.

During its 2011 session, the Florida Legislature failed to pass immigration enforcement bills that would have allowed local law enforcement to ask suspects about their immigration status.

Two failed immigration enforcement bills — state Rep. William Snyder’s H.B. 7089 and Sen. Anitere Flores’ S.B. 2040 — included provisions that would have made programs such as Secure Communities a permanent part of law enforcement in Florida.

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