by Javier ManjarresConservatives and pro-legal immigration supporters from around the state are not going to like what just went down in the Florida Senate regarding the drafting of an illegal immigration/E-Verify bill that many hoped would be a tightening of our very lax immigration laws.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Senator Anitere Flores(R) and member of the State Legislatures Hispanic Caucus gave new meaning to the term ‘fast-track’, when she hurried the passage of Senate Bill 2040, a diluted version of an E-Verify bill that had originally mandated state law enforcement agencies to work with the Department of Homeland Security to enforce federal immigration laws at the state level.
But now, this provision of mandated cooperation in enforcing federal immigrations laws has been scrapped, effectively making the bill toothless. Not surprisingly, the pro-enforcement/legal immigration lobby is outraged, and the disparate coalition of voters who want greater enforcement of our immigration laws and see illegal immigration as a direct threat to the economic and national security of the nation will also be disappointed.
What many legislators like Senator Flores fail to see is that the increase in driver’s license fraud has compromised the practice of using state driver’s licenses as the sole means of identification potential workers- a fraudulent technique that many drug smugglers and members of the pro-amnesty lobby have mastered. To accompany a valid federal identification card, employers must verify a true birth certificate or passport. Unfortunately, criminals are also mastering forgery of these two items as well- but it beats just using an out-of-state driver’s license.Back in January, we discussed the possibility that the Hispanic Caucus in the Florida Legislature could scuttle this proposed bill. Senator Flores, the Hispanic Caucus, and other GOP Senators have pretty much done just that. Senate President Mike Haridopolos, Flores, and others know that to win favor with voters, they would have to pass an illegal immigration law. Senator Haridopolos is supporting the measure by stating ,“This is a Florida-specific solution to address the issue of illegal immigration in our state. Florida will step up and protect its citizens because the federal government has failed us.”
To add a little salt to this wound, George Soros is weighing in through his surrogate Subkash Kateel of the Florida Immigration Coalition, saying that this bill is “a step in the right direction.” –Miami Herald
Haridopolos’ support for such a weak immigration bill may turn out to be problematic for the Senate President after he had been pushing for a much stronger immigration reform. Senator Haridopolos is currently running for the U.S. Senate against recently announced candidate Senator George LeMieux and potential candidate Adam Hasner, who is considered by many in the Republican base as the pro-legal immigration hawk in the race.
For those immigration hawks out there who were hoping for a very reasonable “Arizona-style” immigration law, this bill is not it, but there is still hope for this bill to morph into a better. The Judiciary Committee was the first of three committees that a bill will have to pass through before it makes it to the floor of the Florida Senate. We await reaction from Governor Rick Scott, who very notably campaigned on the enactment of tougher illegal immigration laws.