by Javier Manjarres
After Tuesday’s elections gave Republicans a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the Florida Legislature– 28-12 in the Senate and 80-40 in the House, one of the first legislative initiatives that was expected to be introduced is the much ballyhooed “Arizona style” immigration law that cracks down on illegal immigration, provided that a member of the legislature were to file such a bill. Incoming Senate President-elect Mike Haridopolos is a strong advocate for the introduction of such a law and has previously stated that,“I wouldn’t be surprised if a member of the Senate and/or House representative files a bill. If we choose to go that way, we’re going to have a Florida law, not an Arizona law.”
In a phone conversation this morning with Senator President-elect Haridopolos, the Senator reiterated his position on the issue and leaked what he and his colleagues in Tallahassee intend to do about it.
You believe the Federal government has failed us on this issue- Florida needs to step up and get it right. We will be holding extensive hearings in December or January on getting all the facts on table and all the hyperbole off the table. – Mike Haridopolos
A source close to several State Senators and House Representatives has told the Shark Tank that no less than four members of the Legislature are interested in filing a bill that resembles Arizona’s immigration law but will address Florida’s unique situation as it pertains to illegal immigration. Senator Haridopolos confirmed my source’s information and said that he expected a bill to be proposed any day. An immigration bill filed in the legislature would be sure to pass, and be signed by Governor-elect Rick Scott. Governor-elect Scott has been one of the most ardent supporters of the Arizona immigration law which allows for law enforcement officials to make an inquiry as to a person’s immigration status and require that an individual provide documentation about their immigration status.
Since Florida does not have a dry Federal border, the unique immigration challenge that Florida faces is the fact that the majority of people that are here in the state illegally are because they have overstayed their visas. While there are certainly illegal immigrants coming to Florida from other border states, the main issue here in Florida are individuals who have expired visas. Regardless of whether these individuals illegal crossed our Federal borders or decided not to got back to their respective countries after being granted a student, work, or tourist visa, illegal is illegal, and the Legislature and the Governor are both primed to act.