Word has come out that William Snyder, a Republican Florida state Representative, has received an e-mail message threatening his life and that of his family. The apparent reason was because of the Florida Immigration bill he is sponsoring that is incredibly similar to the controversial new Arizona immigration law. The e-mail read, “You better just stop that ridiculous law if you value your and your family’s lives.” Rep. Snyder reported the threats to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office who eventually asked the authorities in Northampton, Massachusetts, for assistance. Soon thereafter, Massachusetts police arrested a 47-year-old resident who was believed to be the one who sent the threatening e-mail. The arrested man later confessed that the reason for sending the e-mail was that he was worried because Snyder wants to change the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The suspect, who claims to be a political activist, says he never meant to kill Snyder or his family. On the other hand, the man admitted that he was glad that his e-mail had made the Florida state representative nervous.
Even though Snyder himself publicly stated that the threatening e-mail was “pretty thoughtless,” the message clearly underscores the public’s concern for the implications of the bill and the severe consequences it is poised to have on the state if it were to be enacted. The law Rep. Snyder is trying to pass would effectively allow for law enforcement to require those detained to produce proof of their immigration status. Yet what the e-mail was referring to that which was discovered recently that ties Rep. Snyder to an organization that is pursuing the repeal of the 14th Amendment in order to restrict the ability of immigrant children to obtain U.S. citizenship. The organization is “State Legislators for Legal Immigration” and on its website it lists Rep. Snyder as someone who is “participating” in the group, which- according to The American Independent- describes itself as a “nation-wide coalition” whose intent is to “provide a network of state legislators who are committed to working together…in eliminating all economic attractions and incentives for illegal aliens, as well as securing our borders against unlawful invasion.” When asked of his involvement with this group, Snyder’s press secretary said that he is “aware” of it but does not intend to take a position on it, stressing that his “focus remains on immigration in the State of Florida”.
Michelle Waslin, a senior policy analyst at the Immigration Policy Center, said that the group in question “wants to spark a legal challenge that goes all the way to the Supreme Court. She further stated that the group wants to set up a system for citizens and another for people who can be discriminated against. Waslin also made clear that amending the 14th Amendment would not be a solution for illegal immigration. Be that as it may, we have already experienced the shock that came when bills were introduced by several state legislatures, intending to lay the groundwork for such reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment. And while we are completely against this hateful measure, we trust that our superior courts of justice will put an end to these xenophobic bills. As for Florida, given the state’s heavy reliance on immigrants for its two major industries- namely, tourism and agriculture- we expect there to be further vocal opposition to Snyder’s proposed immigration bill as has already occurred in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.