Skip to comments.Florida bills would crack down on illegal immigrants
Posted on 12/25/2007 3:45:23 PM PST by BGHater
n the two years since immigration reform legislation stalled in Congress, many states have passed their own laws targeting illegal immigrants.
And soon Florida could join them.
Legislators have filed six bills that would, among other things, penalize farms and government contractors that hire undocumented immigrants or require local officials to report their arrests to federal authorities.
Come spring, legislators could debate whether to make it harder for an estimated 850,000 undocumented immigrants to live and work in Florida.
One of the bills, proposed by Rep. William Snyder, R-Stuart, would give local and state law enforcement the authority to arrest and charge smugglers transporting suspected illegal aliens.
"If this law prevents one smuggler from re-offending, I'll consider it a success," Snyder said earlier this year.
The Florida bills follow a trend of cities and states proposing local laws related to immigration.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported last week that so far this year, more than 1,500 pieces of legislation were introduced in state legislatures. Of those, 244 became laws in 46 states, triple the number passed in 2006.
Nationally, the proposals touch predominantly on employment, law enforcement, drivers licenses and public benefits.
"Our federal government, in my opinion, has failed our citizens in dealing with the crisis of illegal immigration," said state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, who filed two bills. "I went to an event today, and when I asked for questions, it was about taxes, but it was also about illegal immigration."
In Florida, Fasano and Republican Rep. Don Brown, R-DeFuniak Springs, have filed three of the most comprehensive bills.
Fasano's proposals Senate Bills 124 and 388 would target agribusinesses and government contractors that employ undocumented workers. One also would require local governments and police to determine immigrants' status and enforce immigration laws.
Brown said he modeled his proposal House Bill 73 after a comprehensive and tough law that went into effect in Oklahoma in November.
If passed, it would force local officials to share information with the federal government about the legal status of immigrants. It also would ban so-called sanctuary policies, which some cities have used to stop the sharing of that information.
"I'm concerned about the sovereignty of the nation and the state," Brown said. "This country has an incredibly rich heritage of immigration. ... In recent years, we have allowed untold millions ... to come into the country" illegally.
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Nationally, activists opposed to illegal immigration view the state laws as a way to force undocumented immigrants to leave.
"The most significant part of the legislation is that illegal aliens are leaving those states in large numbers," said William Gheen, president of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, based in North Carolina.
The new state laws bother advocates for immigrants.
Joan Friedland, immigration policy director of the National Immigration Law Center, said she worries about federal agents and local police working together outside of jails.
Such arrangements, Friedland said, could increase racial profiling and discourage immigrants from cooperating with police or asking for help.
Undocumented immigrants already are not eligible for most public benefits, said Tanya Broder, the law center's public benefits policy director. She said the state laws mainly require that people show documentation, which simply adds a hurdle for citizens.
"Colorado spent $2 million to implement their law," Broder said. "They had zero savings because there's no evidence that undocumented immigrants were getting services."
In Florida, however, activists opposed to illegal immigration like the proposals.
"There's a number of articles about how illegal aliens are moving out of Oklahoma," said David Caulkett, vice president for Floridians for Immigration Reform.
He said his group opposes illegal immigrants, not legal ones.
"Surprise, surprise," Caulkett said. "Enforcement works. I would expect the effects ... in Florida will be the same" as in Oklahoma."
Those preparing to fight the bills say undocumented immigrants are important to the state's economy and should be legalized.
"We are benefitting from their labor," said Sheila Hopkins, associate director for social concerns for the Florida Catholic Conference of Bishops in Tallahassee. "We need to pass immigration reform so these people have the opportunity to make it right."
John Horan, an Orlando attorney who represents clients in construction, said both sides have valid points.
"You have people justifiably saying these people have broken the law," Horan said.
But "by the same token you have 15 million people who are working and ... an unemployment rate of (only) a little over 4 percent. In Florida, it's much lower," said Horan. "The demand of labor is being met by the supply. The only problem is that the supply is not here legally."
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"I think there's a good chance that they would pass in Florida," Horan said. "This is a very important issue to the Republican base."
But Sean Foreman, an assistant professor of political science at Barry University in Miami Shores, said the "anti-immigrant" mood is not as strong in Florida as in mid-Atlantic states and the Midwest.
Florida's power structure has recently shifted from the northern part of the state to the south, Foreman said in an e-mail, adding that Republican Cuban-American legislators such as House Speaker Marco Rubio are likely to have more liberal views on immigration.
He also noted that Gov. Charlie Crist is also a moderate Republican. "Attempts at immigration reform in Florida will probably fall short," Foreman predicted.
Information from Congressional Quarterly was used in this report.
Colorado spent $2 million to implement their law,” Broder said. “They had zero savings because there’s no evidence that undocumented immigrants were getting services.”
BS. The state is run by dem-o-rats. They didn’t bother looking.
The **only** problem? That's pantload as well as being totally incorrect.
First, even if that were true, it's hardly a "minor" problem.
Second, 850 thousand (an under estimate IMO), is a very significant number in proportion to the state's population.
Third, these illegals have brought with them a host of very serious problems. They are not just people working and living in Florida that simply don't happen to have some minor, piddly paperwork.
And for the record Crist is not a "moderate" anything. He is a worthless lib masquerading as a Republican.
If this law prevents 10 thousand from re-offending, I'll consider it a success.
“BS. The state is run by dem-o-rats. They didn’t bother looking.”
The way they get around it is they DON’T ASK! My town has a website inviting the parasites to come in and get government services.
I left that crappy state 2 years ago.
Anyway, they aren’t going to go after anyone. This is just talk. Illegals and their supporters have way too much clout in the state.
I haven’t heard Crist’s comments on illegals, but I’d have no faith in a man that has so little regard for private property rights (i.e. his record on eminent domain) would give a damn about the rights of legal citizens.
Bookmark for later reading.
I hope Georgia will get an even tougher handle on this nonsense.If Fla. passes the tougher laws I want the illegals to be made to keep right on going back to where they came from.
“Florida bills would crack down on illegal immigrants”
About time (and beyond)!
I remember maybe 8-10 years ago an episode on “America’s Most Wanted”
there was an episode about a guy accussed of taking liberties with
a little girl in Florida.
Taken to court, the accussed wailed that he was a hardworking
“immigrant” (yep, he was illegal and the judge knew it)...so he
got the judge to give him time to liquidate his cleaning company before
coming back for trial.
The guy cut off his ankle bracelet and hit the road.
Host John Walsh hardly ever comments on illegals...but he did in
that episode and called out the judge by name for being crazy to
have made it possible for this perp to escape.
“Colorado spent $2 million to implement their law,” Broder said. “They had zero savings because there’s no evidence that undocumented immigrants were getting services.”
A total lie.
They should take the additional step Arizona did and require all employers to verify legal status, effective January 1, 2008. Since the 9th Court of Appeals recently refused to address the case, it is now "law of the land" in Arizona, and the illegals are reportedly leaving for Mexico or but probably other states.
The employers of illegals in AZ knash their teeth and claim that the the local and state economies will suffer...let's see. This could set a precedent for other states to follow if the doom doesn't come to pass.
Truth is the 12 million number is also a fabrication of the msm/dbm the actual figure which I continue to shout on thread after thread is closer to 38 million.
This figure comes from former fed prosecutor and immigration expert James H. Walsh in his book "The Social Contract" I could continue documenting the number but I think everyone gets it.
When they all leave the loss of all that weight will cause the Florida land-mass to rise, perhaps far enough to make up for those scary rising sea-levels from global warming.
Killed two birds with one stone.
Your right and since the clause in the NAFTA agreement that allows Mexican trucks to enter the US was put into effect in Colorado they have busted three trucks for transporting illegal aliens. Mexicans don’t have a clue how to drive in snow and usually end up in the ditch and three times the DOT found a trailer full guess what? No for once it was not drugs but a full load of Mexicans destined for a community near you.