Proposed Florida Bill May Target Hispanics and Latinos

Florida State Representative William Snyder has drafted an immigration bill, styled in a similar fashion as the Arizona bill, that would create new concerns for Hispanics and Latino groups who amount to about 22% of the state’s population. The bill would require that police officers check the legal status of anyone that has been stopped if they have “reasonable suspicions” that they may be here illegally. An individual would be presumed to be in the United States legally if the person provides the law enforcement officer with either a passport from a “visa waiver country” or a document showing “proof of Canadian citizenship.”

Although anyone could conclude that the bill’s provisions would allow police to target only a specific minority, Rep. Snyder claims that it is only meant to encourage tourism from Canada. “What we’re doing there is trying to be sensitive to Canadians. We have an enormous amount of… Canadians wintering here in Florida,” he said. “That language is comfort language.” What exactly he meant by that statement is not very clear. What is certain, though, is that anyone who is either Canadian or Western European will get a free pass from having police officers contact U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement , or ICE, to initiate deportation proceedings.

In major cities like Miami, where the Hispanic and Latino population from a 63% majority in population, there will no doubt be a great deal of public outrage if the bill is enacted. It has already allegedly caused tension between Florida’s politicians, three of which are Latino Republican members of Congress from Miami who oppose this anti-immigration legislation. So even though proponents of this legislation argue that it would not lead to racial profiling, the fact that its clauses exempt citizens of countries who are of mostly white ethnicity, will definitely raise a red flag of concern for Hispanics and Latinos who would definitely fall prey to its draconic effects.

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