Florida's so-called Arizona-style immigration bill, which Governor Rick Scott campaigned on, is looking less and less Arizona-style as it makes it way through the state legislature. Republican state Senator Anitere Flores, who had authored the original Senate version of the bill, helped approve a number of measure that would strip the bill of many of its more controversial measures. Now Flores and other Hispanic Republicans who favor the new version of the bill may face the rage of the right-wing while still storming the ire of many groups who still feel the bill goes too far.
The Senate version of the bill does not allow police officers to questions a person's immigration status (a provision that many feel would lead to racial profiling, though the House version of the bill allows officers to inquire about immigration status only during criminal investigation) and also does not create a new, and possibly unconstitutional, state law that would make it a criminal offense to be in the country illegally. Though, law enforcement agencies would be required to check the immigration status of everyone they arrest and report the findings to the federal government.
The bill also no longer requires local police forces to enter agreements with the federal government to enforce immigration laws. Though, individual forces could pursuit such agreements. Some of the stricter provisions requiring employers to verify employees immigration status have also been eased.
Ultimately, the new version of the bill passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 5-2 vote. Though the bill most go through three more committees before reaching the Senate floor, and then must be reconciled with the house version of the bill.
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Now many of the most ideological conservatives and immigration-hawks are outraged at the changes being made. Conservative blog, The Shark Tank, winner of the CPAC blogger of the year award, has produced an angry post illustrated with a controversial "illegal alien crossing" sign. The Shark Tank angrily chides the Hispanic Caucus:
"Florida needs an 'Arizona style' law because Federal authorities are not enforcing existing Federal law," writes the blog. "State legislators, namely the Hispanic Caucus need to take heed, govern themselves accordingly and respect what the voters of the state of Florida voted for when they elected Governor Rick Scott this past November. The Hispanic Caucus needs to understand that they represent 'all' Floridians, not just the ones in their districts whom they ask for their vote every two years, and strong majority of voters, including Republicans, Democrats, and Independents support a Florida immigration law."
Apparently, the blog is unaware that the majority of Floridians now regret voting in Rick Scott, and that, actually, legislators do only represent the voters in their district. That's a pretty basic understanding of how representative legislative bodies are supposed to work.