Florida Attorney General Proposes Arizona-Style Immigration Law
The administration may have hoped its lawsuit against Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law would deter copycats in other states, but state officials continue to push for immigration measures. Florida Attorney General (and gubernatorial candidate) Bill McCollum joined state lawmakers today to push for an immigration law similar to Arizona’s SB 1070.
The draft legislation makes it a misdemeanor for illegal immigrants to seek employment in Florida, and requires immigrants to carry documentation. The punishment for not carrying immigration documentation would be up to 20 days in jail for first-time offenders.
McCollum said the bill would avoid the Arizona bill’s legal problems, the Boston Herald reports:
McCollum said at a news conference Wednesday that while the proposed Florida bill is very similar to one passed in Arizona, Florida’s bill would strictly define what is considered a “reasonable suspicion” during a lawful stop.
A federal judge in Arizona last month delayed a provision of the Arizona law requiring Arizona police officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws.
McCollum says Florida’s proposed bill one-ups the Arizona law by allowing judges to consider immigration status in setting bond and by allowing suspects to be charged with a higher-level crime because of immigration status.
Florida Democrats oppose efforts to create an Arizona-style immigration law, but told The Florida Independent “Democrats don’t have the votes to stop it.”
Of course, McCollum isn’t the only attorney general to push for tougher immigration enforcement: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ruled July 30 that police officers in Virginia can check immigration status of anyone stopped or arrested in the state.