No Bull, No Fluff, No Smudges
Your news source for
Flagler, Florida and Beyond

Splitting Florida Lawmakers, Arizona-Inspired Immigration-Law Rewrites Won’t Make It

| May 4, 2011

Not yet.

The Senate’s rejection of a tougher House immigration proposal likely dooms the measure for the year , the House sponsor said Tuesday, with lawmakers unable to agree on an issue that split the Republican Party like few others.

After a long, emotional debate on Tuesday, the Senate advanced an immigration bill that does not penalize businesses for hiring undocumented workers and sets a higher standard than the proposed House bill before police can check an immigrant’s status.

With bills so dramatically different and the legislative session scheduled to end Friday, Rep. Will Snyder said it would be almost impossible to get the 80 votes needed procedurally to get the measure through the House at this late date.

“We had a majority for my bill,” said Snyder, R-Stuart, expressing disappointment that the measure is likely dead until next year. “The people of Florida expected we would do something about it.”

Senators may still vote Wednesday on the bill, which backers said was forced on Florida by a lack of action in Washington. The measure fell short of Arizona-style restrictions now tied up in court, but was still a flash point in the last week, with a near-constant protest from immigrants and immigrant rights group at the Capitol.

“Where we stand here today is caused by an absolute failure of our federal government to come to terms with a fair, equitable and reasonable way to handle these issues,” said Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, a farmer, who was handed sponsorship of the bill late in the session.

But the Legislature appeared unlikely to be able to come up with a fair way to do it either. The measure pulled the GOP three ways. Many Hispanics in the Legislature – most of them Republican – were uncomfortable with some elements of the proposal. But it was pushed by the populist wing of the Republican Party, including tea party backers, who have made immigration one of their top issues.


But perhaps the most interesting element of the debate came from a third Republican constituency, big business – and particularly the agriculture industry – which expressed concerns about the impact of the message that a crack down on immigrants would send in a tourism-dependent state, and the effect on the state’s workforce.

Tuesday’s debate underscored the difficulty Florida officials face in crafting immigration policy. The state’s tourism, agricultural and construction industry are dependent upon immigrant labor -both legal and illegal – to take jobs that U.S. citizens won’t fill.

Following more than two hours of debate on Tuesday, the Senate rejected on a 16-23 vote, a proposal that would have forced businesses to use the federal E-verify system to check immigration status, or face the possibility of fines up to $1,500 for per violation for employing workers who are in the country illegally. Backers said the amendment was essential to ensure that only those legally in the country are being hired. The House had wanted a requirement for immigration checks on all new hires.

“It gives employers some assurance that they are doing the right thing, that they are actually employing the right kind of people that are legal in our state,” said Sen. John Thrasher. R-St. Augustine. “In fact, the taxpayers of our state expect us to have that debate and that type of discussion.”

But the Senate approved a measure that would require only those seeking a job through the state workforce agency, or people getting local or state benefits to be screened using E-verify.

The Senate proposal (SB 2040) would require law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of suspects once they’ve been arrested and are in custody. Upon conviction, the state could deport offenders found to be in the United States illegally. But the Senate measure also says the law couldn’t be construed to “authorize the arrest of a person on suspicion that the person is not in the United States lawfully.”

The House measure (HB 7089) would allow law enforcement officers to seek the immigration status of suspects in criminal investigations. The bill also would sanction employers who do not use the E-verify system and hire undocumented workers.

On Tuesday, immigrants in the Senate spoke against taking a hard line on the issue. Florida’s recent history is replete with examples of immigrants who came and made a contribution, said Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Sunny Isles.

“What is happening in this state?” said Margolis, 76, choking back tears. “In Dade County everyone speaks another language. You can’t get a job if you don’t speak another language. That’s the way it is. That’s the way we live. That’s where I grew up.”

Some also noted the business opposition.

“We shouldn’t be, on the 57th day of session, making it harder for people to create jobs,” said Sen. Jack Latvala, R- St. Petersburg.

Backers said the state needs to make the tough choices to deal with a wave of immigration.

“The people of our country and the people of our state are asking for us to act,” said Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne. “They’re asking for us to be partners with our federal government and take a strong, strong stand against illegal immigration.”

Senate President Mike Haridopolos said he was glad the Senate had the debate even if the House may not take up the bill, and, while expressing frustration at the lack of federal enforcement of immigration laws, acknowledged the difficulty of the issue.

“I met a lot of these folks up here in Tallahassee,” said Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, referring to the protesting immigrants who descended on the Capitol this week. “People are just looking for an opportunity…you blame them for wanting to live here?

“As Sen. Alexander described very well, a lot of Americans choose not to do the type of jobs he spoke about, being paid roughly $9 and in some cases back-breaking work where as other people might be willing to do that,” Haridopolos said.

Officials in House Speaker Dean Cannon’s office backed up Snyder’s assertion that the lateness in the session – and House rules meant to avoid taking up new measures quickly – would likely prevent the bill’s passage. The House won’t even get the Senate bill until sometime Wednesday.

But Alexander said the House could waive its rules, as it has done before.

“Maybe we can get that passed out, and they can always waive the rules if they really want to do it,” Alexander said. But, he said, going slowly isn’t the worst thing

“I’d rather get it right than move it quickly,.” Alexander said. “And if it takes more time to get it right and more time for our federal leaders to come to some sort of reasonable solution, then that may be what’s best.”

–Michael Peltier and David Royse, News Service of Florida

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 Responses for “Splitting Florida Lawmakers, Arizona-Inspired Immigration-Law Rewrites Won’t Make It”

  1. Rob says:

    Adopting a law similar to Arizona’s racist law is not the answer.

    If the lawmakers truly want to abate illegal immigration they need to hold business owners strictly accountable.
    Hiring illegal workers should become a felonious offense. A felony is punishable by jail time.

    It won’t happen though because big business has vested interests in hiring people who can be easily exploited, paid less and who perform the low level work that Blacks and poor whites will no longer perform for menial wages.

    Typically when construction jobs, packing plants etc are raided by the INS the owners or hiring authorities feign ignorance. The workers get carted off and business goes on as usual. The routine is analogous to the low level drug runner. Arrest one and they are quickly replaced by another.

  2. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Yup yup yup. Only children should be deported and sent back to Cuba at the point of gun in our fair state.

  3. palmcoaster says:

    Lawabiding, that Cuban child had one surviving parent, his father in Cuba, that by law had his right to claim his child, snatched from him by the mother while fleeing the island nation in a very precarious circumstances.
    Like Rob, I agree, we do not need Arizona racist law in Florida. I am glad that the Hispanic population is properly represented among our elected legislators in both parties, who prevent the passing of prejudice proposals. Both parties are very aware that Latinos go to the polls and that also they don’t like to be singled out and deserve the same respect as any other citizen! Our federal government yet has to address, propose and enforce comprehensive and fair immigration rules “for all”. The measure will take the fuel of prejudice mongers like Brewer, Russell Bauer, Palin, Stengel, Bachman , tea baggers and company. Go and see Arizona further broke thanks to “Jan Drinkwine Brewer”. She left California as her racist rhetoric would not fly there and headed to avoc Arizona: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-03-19/arizona-immigration-law-why-the-republicans-are-retreating/ Do we want the same to happen to Florida?
    Remember also that Florida’s economy have never been as bright as Arizona’s, if anyone here have ever admired their infrastructure! So any further racist laws implemented in Florida will really do further economic damage. The financial disaster of America is not due to Hispanics legal or ilegal but to the thieves in Wall Street, their counter parts in the Federal Reserve, all our jobs lost to China and elsewhere because “slavery is very profitable” and three useless wars that we can’t afford!. Look for a different scapegoat !

  4. palmcoaster says:

    Sorry my error, I referred to “Russell Pearce” not Bauer.

  5. palmcoaster says:

    As I am very familiar with Arizona as one of my children married and resides there and I allways loved visiting. I can see the financial deterioration now and if you care to read the enclosed link would be appreciative that in Tallahassee they vote down the AZ racist immigration like, bills;
    http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2011/03/16/ceos-legislature-back-off-immigration.html
    Of course, we do not see much of these news in the general media.

  6. Brittanicus says:

    IF FLORIDA RESIDENTS ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWS, THEN JOIN THE TEA PARTY.

    Remember who your Political adversaries are in coming elections, whose main concern is more votes and additional amounts of illegal cheap labor. Hundreds of thousands of low income, less educated Americans of every skin color, has been replaced by illegal alien workers hired by dirty business owners, whose only concern is to fill their pockets with more money by exploiting and underpaying.

    PLEASE TAKE AN ACCOUNTING OF WHICH POLITICIAN IS WORKING FOR YOU THE TAXPAYER? ARIZONA WAS JUSTIFIED AS A FRONTIER STATE, TO STOP THE FINANCIAL DEGRADATION BY ILLEGAL ALIENS SETTLING THERE. THE ARIZONA GOVERNOR JAN BREWER AND STATE SENATOR PIERCE ARE STILL FIGHTING OVERWHELMING ODDS IN THE MILITANT COURTS AND THE LIBERAL CZARS IN OUR FEDERAL CAPITOL. AMERICA IS A LAND OF LAWS, WHICH LEFTISTS AND SOME OF THE RIGHT TEND TO FORGET? MANY STATES WILL SOON ENOUGH LEARN OF THEIR ERROR FOR NOT LISTENING TO ITS PEOPLE. UNKNOWN NUMBERS OF FRESH ECONOMIC MIGRANTS WILL ATTACH THEMSELVES TO THE COMMUNITIES, EXHAUSTING EVEN MORE TAXPAYER DOLLARS. FLORIDA COULD BECOME ANOTHER CALIFORNIA OR NEVADA, WITH INCREASING CRIME AND A WELFARE TROUGH FOR EVERY FOREIGN NATIONAL TO DRINK FROM?

    We need more tough new politicians as US Rep. Lou Barletta to strengthen our borders fence, build a legal barrier of cutting further settlement of illegal nationals. He showed his abilities when he stood against the US government, the (ACLU) American Communist Lawyers Union, US Chamber of Commerce and the open border rapid leftists. As a man of conviction he would appreciate the TEA PARTY platform as a great organizer to draw in more Americans to our causes.

    Our lawmakers must be persuaded by the threat of being voted out of office, that they must mandate such logical laws as mandating E-Verify, Secure communities and the 287 G. Our honest politicians should insure its unhealthy for businesses to hire illegal aliens. Not just small restaurant chains, but high end companies as McDonald franchises Become a “Whistle Blower” and report illegal aliens working to ICE or local police. Whistle blowers can send these company owners to prison; making hefty fines and loss of business assets essential. If ICE agency doesn’t respect your patriotic duty, leave a message with NumbersUSA, as they will contact the right entities in the DC Capital. These people are not just the Senators or Congressmen-Women in Washington, but it’s also a mixed bag of Governors, Mayors, Police Chiefs and a wide range of city managers. Many of these Liberal-Democrats are in Congress to feather their own nests from special interest groups; there are no mitigating circumstances for hard line, wealthy Republicans either. Good Righteous Americans have come to the end of their tether, that’s why “THE PEOPLE’S” TEA PARTY was born?

    The Obama government of today and yesteryear administration has seen fit, to cater to the illegal immigration invaders, and now years of disgusting failures and complete incompetence is driving federal and State treasuries into bankruptcy. How many Trillions of dollars could America have packed into infrastructure, welfare nets, balancing federal State and local government, if that deceased Lib-Democrat Ted Kennedy hadn’t rescinded the nationality “Quota System?.” If the previous President LBJ’ Immigration law had remained steadfast? But today with have nothing but economic illegal aliens threading their way across a poorly funded border; undermanned with no troops present to stop this incursion. Now America is going through a huge crime wave, as the sewers of South America have opened spilling there offal and bringing with it unfettered death and destruction to the American people. In Americas future we should issue special visas, for the highest caliber of talented, experienced professionals that will never become a public charge. Now our nation already has countless people living below the poverty line, so we must stop more indigent from across the Southern border, as taxpayers shouldn’t be carrying that burden anymore?

    To ensure America’s future and your children, we must bring to a halt this invasion of our sovereign nation. The Liberal progressives and their philosophy have no respect for people’s freedom and self determination. We cannot afford to feed the world or allow activist judges to supersede laws such as illegal alien schooling or free health care. Our only real choice is to unseat the factions of “Tax and Spend” We have massive US deficit through entitlement programs that is partially caused by the 300.000 annual Birthright baby citizenship law illegal parents to settle with expenditures in the billions of taxpayer dollars. The TEA PARTY has an unparalleled growth membership that is threatening the two party system of government, which is totally destroying this country through partisan economics. But the TEA PARTY is rapidly moving ahead with the assurance, that the illegal immigration occupation will be halted. The TEA PARTY will not vote for any Sanctuary State policies; NO Chain Migration; NO more Amnesties as promised by the late Teddy Kennedy; NO more Immigration Reform packages of any kind.

    All new members are welcome as long as you entered this country legally, without any prejudiced to your previous skin color, religion or allegiance to a foreign nation. This is a firm commitment to honest legal immigrants, who have assimilated into the American culture. America can no longer support the impoverished peoples in our country or across the Earth. COME! Join us today! Join your local chapter or national TEA PARTY, and make your single voice join tens of millions more against the corruption in Washington. Call and raise hell with your local and federal lawmaker at Senate—202-224–3121/ House—202-225–3121 or locate the in your phone directory blue pages. Learn the immigration grades of those amongst lawmakers at NumbersUSA.

    Attn: America is being ripped-off by Communist China, Mexico and other countries in unfair trade agreements. Our nation is losing our manufacturing to foreign cheap labor countries. As Donald Trump stated, “Place a 25% import tax on every product that enters our country. Stop subsidizing American companies that have disappeared overseas. They businesses will return if we begin taxing everything that comes through customs?

Leave a Reply

Read FlaglerLive's Comment Policy | Subscribe to the Comment Feed rss flaglerlive comment feed rss

More stories on FlaglerLive
Loading

ADVERTISEMENTS

suppert flaglerlive flagler live palm coast flagler county news pierre tristam florida
fcir florida center for investigative reporting

Subscribe to FlaglerLive

Get immediate notification of new stories.

Advertisement
Log in
| FlaglerLive, P.O. Box 354263, Palm Coast, FL 32135-4263 | 386/586-0257

FlaglerLive.com