Florida, the Sundown State

Don't let the sun set on you in the Sunshine State!So what’s a politician to do when his candidacy is flagging and he’s taken a hard shot to the breadbasket for appearing “soft” on illegal immigration? He gets medieval on . . . well, somebody:

Florida Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum unveiled a sweeping immigration bill Wednesday that in some ways goes further than Arizona’s controversial law to apprehend undocumented workers and residents….

“Arizona is going to want this law,” McCollum said. “We’re better, we’re stronger, we’re tougher and we’re fairer.”

The proposed law would require immigrants to carry valid documentation or face up to 20 days in jail and would allow judges to hand down stiffer penalties to illegal immigrations who commit the same crimes as legal residents.

That’ll show ‘em! If you’re unfortunate enough to look like an illegal immigrant in Florida, be prepared to carry a portfolio proving you have the government’s permission to exist inside its borders. Apparently the “fairer” part of the bill is that unlike Arizona’s SB1070, it doesn’t hold legal residents criminally liable for harboring illegals.

Naturally this bill has raised more than a few concerns among Florida’s Hispanic lawmakers, who fear it will lead to racial profiling (a claim I’d happily dispute as soon as I see a Florida cop shaking down some Yankee retiree for being unable to prove he didn’t just step off the boat from Oslo), and there are the obvious obstacles such legislation would face in the courts. A Federal judge has already slapped an injunction on the most odious parts of Arizona’s bill, even as McCollum’s proposal takes it a step further.

In short, chances are slim the bill will survive intact, if it becomes law at all. But what’s a few violations of civil liberties, if it means the Sunshine State lowers the boom on the Brown Peril?

2 comments… add one

  • I would imagine this is done entirely in response to his Republican opponent’s (Rick Scott) constant ads playing McCollum denouncing the Arizona law. I had been thinking to myself that — if anything — that makes me want to vote for McCollum, if I were going to vote at all. Which I’m not. So now all he’s done is removed any choice in platform from the race.

    Reply

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