Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum on Wednesday proposed legislation that would toughen law enforcement measures against illegal immigrants in the melting-pot southeastern U.S. state.The concerns over Arizona's laws are the same as for Florida. How do you avoid profiling all while enforcing immigration laws that have been on the federal books for decades.
The proposal by McCollum, who is engaged in a tough election race as a Republican candidate for the state governorship, was certain to thrust Florida into the sensitive immigration debate that has become a hot political issue ahead of mid-term Congressional elections on November 2.
"Florida will not be a sanctuary state for illegal aliens," McCollum, who was accompanied by state Representative Will Synder, said in a statement that also gave details of the proposed law.
The legislation would require law enforcement officials to check a suspected illegal immigrant's status in the course of a stop, or a violation of another law.
This goes beyond the existing situation in the state where officers are allowed to check for immigration status, but not required to.
Florida, especially its southern portion, is a major U.S. migration destination for nationals from the Caribbean and Latin America, making it a cultural and racial melting-pot.
Indeed, if you ask most people, they wouldn't have a problem with legal immigrants - those that entered the US legally and have obtained their proper work documents. The problem is with the illegal aliens who entered the country illegally or have overstayed their visas and should not be entitled to work in the US because of a lack of documentation.
That latter part goes to enforcing immigration laws against businesses that hire them at lower wages (and frequently off the books). Farming and other labor intensive businesses frequently use illegal aliens as labor because of the costs of hiring documented workers, yet they too must be held accountable for their actions.