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FL Governor to Revamp State Immigration Law Effort in 2012

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who is a strong supporter of the recently halted efforts to pass state legislature to curb immigration through a draconian and discriminatory immigration bill, has announced that he will focus on immigration in the upcoming year. The State Column reports that Gov. Scott said on Tuesday that “he will focus on passing a comprehensive immigration reform package during the upcoming 2012 legislative session.” According to the Column, the governor said, “We should have done an immigration bill. The federal government should be securing our borders. They should have a logical, national immigration policy, a good work visa program policy.”

One of this Florida Governor’s first acts when he assumed office was to sign an executive order requiring that all state agencies and all companies that enter into contracts with state agencies use the E-Verify program to check the employment eligibility of their workers. Gov. Scott, who agrees that state law enforcement must be allowed to ask suspects about their immigration status, is part of a push by Republicans to pass immigration enforcement laws similar to Arizona’s controversial S.B. 1070 that went into effect in the state. Even though the Florida counterpart was highly contested, in light of the adverse effects it had on Arizona’s economy and society it was largely held to be an evil that was altogether unnecessary and would have proved to be ineffective. Yet the Governor was following in the lead of many officials at the state and federal level, do not for a second think he made up his mind on his own. In Alabama, Republican Gov. Robert Bently signed the Alabama immigration-enforcement law that requires the verification of the legal status of a person, makes economic activity by unauthorized aliens illegal in the state, prohibits the hiring of unauthorized aliens, requires participation in the federal E-Verify program, and more. Georgia´s H.B. 87, signed by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, includes provisions that mandate E-Verify and allow local and state police to arrest illegal immigrants and take them to state and federal jails. At the federal level, U.S. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has filed three immigration enforcement bills this session: mandatory federal E-Verify, indefinite detention and HALT (“Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation”). Although this route is foreseeably a self-destructive one, his new policy announcement is telling of the fact that these stubborn attempts to pass immigration law in Florida are all but finished.

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