Asked if Florida should pass an immigration-enforcement law like Georgia’s recently approved H.B. 87, Gov. Rick Scott says the federal government needs to do its job: Secure the border, implement a national immigration policy and create a work visa program that actually works.
Scott tells Hispolitica that if you’re in Florida and you’re stopped by law enforcement, officers should be able to ask for your immigration status. In its latest session, the Florida Legislature failed to pass immigration-enforcement bills that would have allowed local law enforcement to do just that.
Scott adds that immigration reform must be fair and avoid racial profiling, and he comments about his experience using E-Verify, a federal program that allows companies to discover if a job applicant is authorized to work in the U.S. Asked if he supports state and national E-Verify, Scott says we need something that is fair.
One of Rick Scott’s first acts as governor was to sign an executive order requiring that all state agencies — and all companies that enter into contracts with state agencies — use E-Verify to check the employment elligibility of their workers
Georgia’s H.B. 87, effective July 1, includes provisions that mandate E-Verify; the measure is opposed by the Georgia Farm Bureau. A federal judge this week granted a preliminary injunction against key provisions of the law that would allow police to investigate the immigration status of certain suspects and a measure punishing those who knowingly harbor illegal immigrants.
A federal bill filed by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, would mandate E-Verify nationwide. It is currently moving through the U.S. House of Representative, but has also earned the opposition of many business organizations. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is cosponsoring the Senate version that also calls for mandatory E-Verify.
Scott says he recognizes that Hispanic voters were important for his election and he has made a point to address their issues: education, jobs and housing. But in Florida immigration reform bills have divided GOP legislators, especially South Florida Hispanic Republicans.
Watch the Scott interview: