by Javier Manjarres
The highly anticipated ‘Arizona-lite’ Florida immigration law that Governor Rick Scott campaigned on is being brought up for discussion in the first legislative committee meetings of the year. Unfortunately, the word coming out of Tallahassee is that members of the Hispanic Caucus are hedging, and may be set on impeding any kind of immigration reform bill presented to their committee. Several years back, then Speaker Marco Rubio was accused of not allowing six immigration bills to come to a vote- the bills got stuck in committee. This episode turned out to be one of the bigger nuisances to Rubio during his run for Senate, especially after the Arizona bill took national spotlight, as Rubio made an unforced rhetorical error and was subsequently torn apart by supporters of the bill.
Now, many citizens and pro-legal immigration groups like the FLIMEN fear that a Florida immigration bill will also be defeated in committee, due in large part to the growing influence the Hispanic Caucus and the Hispanic community at large which is divided over the matter.
As reported by Sunshine State News:
Several immigration bills have already been filed, including four in the Senate alone. One filed by Sen. Mike Bennett, (R-Bradenton), is similar to the Arizona law, as is another filed in the House by Rep. William Snyder, R-Stuart.
Bennett and other senators expressed frustration with the federal government for not doing enough to enforce immigration laws. He was surprised to hear that the government can’t easily deport felons who are illegal aliens –Sunshine State News
Everyone is aware of the rampant drug trafficking and killing that is occurring along the southern border of the United States, yet elected officials in Florida continue to rely on the rhetorical argument that ‘Florida’s immigration issues are different from Arizona’s issues”. To an extent, this is true since Florida obviously does not have a dry border with another country. However, there are thousands of illegal immigrants within Florida who at first arrive here legally but then overstay their visas; there are many who ultimately arrive in Florida after having crossed the Southern border with Mexico, and Florida has always had issues with illegals who arrive here by boat. Most that come are looking for work, but in light of our economic downturn and high unemployment, many of these illegals have had to find ‘other ways’ of making a living.
It is undeniable that there is a substantial criminal element within the illegal immigration problem, and Florida is not immune to its effects. Just last week in St.Lucie county, 5 illegal immigrants were detained with 110 lbs of Marijuana, yet another instance of criminal activity perpetrated by illegals- most of which are never reported in the media.
One of the points being debated in the legislature is E-Verify, and according to House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera, “it is on the table.” E-Verify is crucial in that it will deter illegals from coming here to find employment in Florida, and the remaining illegals will leave by attrition from the fear of getting arrested and deported. However, the one issue that seems to have everyone all bent out of shape over is the ‘police-stop’ aspect of the bill, which has raised fears within some who believe that law enforcement will be stopping individuals solely based on their ethic appearance.
Florida needs an “Arizona style” law because Federal authorities are not enforcing existing Federal law. State legislators, namely the Hispanic Caucus need to take heed, govern themselves accordingly and respect what the voters of the state of Florida voted for when they elected Governor Rick Scott this past November. The Hispanic Caucus needs to understand that they represent ‘all’ Floridians, not just the ones in their districts whom they ask for their vote every two years, and strong majority of voters, including Republicans, Democrats, and Independents support a Florida immigration law.
The Hispanic Caucus will work closely with the Immigration Bill’s sponsor to insure that if any product is passed, it will be done taking the security of the general public in mind..while I expect the the debate to be emotional at times, I also espect that it will be done in a professional manner.” –Rep. Esteban Bovo, Chairman of the Hispanic Caucus
Sen. Anitere Flores(R) Senate Majority Whip
Sen. Renee Garcia(R)
Sen. Miguel De La Portilla(R)
Rep. Esteban Bovo, Jr.(R) Chairman of the Caucus
Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera(R), House Majority Leader
Rep. Erik Fresen(R)
Rep. Jose Diaz(R)
Rep. Jeanette Nunez(R)
Rep. Javier Soto(D)
Rep. Janet Cruz(D)