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Florida Immigration Bill to be Introduced in May

Earlier this week, this blog reported on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling regarding Arizona's immigration law. Florida is not controlled under the 9th Circuit. Now the TC Palm reports that a proposed Florida immigration bill has received backing from the Republican Executive Committee. The measure is expected to be introduced in the Florida legislature next session.

The draft measure was originally unveiled in August. The Florida version of state anti-immigration law differs somewhat from the Arizona law. Under the Florida bill, immigrants seeking employment could be charged with a crime if they are determined to be illegally in the country. Florida employers would be required to verify an applicant's immigration status under the federal E-Verify system.

The bill was drafted by Florida Rep William Snyder along with Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. Snyder says he intends to introduce the Florida immigration bill in May 2011.

Snyder says that the bill does not target Hispanics. He says race and ethnicity are not avenues for enforcement under the Florida measure. Since the draft bill was unveiled, it has faced scrutiny. The measure includes a provision that presumes a person is legally in the United States upon proof of Canadian citizenship, or that of a "visa waiver" country. Visa waiver countries are primarily European countries.

The proposed bill would allow Florida judges to consider immigration status in criminal proceedings. The measure would make immigration status of an accused person relevant in setting bond. The law, if passed, would allow judges to impose harsher criminal sentences after a criminal conviction based upon immigration status. Illegal immigrants could face tougher criminal sentences under the measure than legal residents.

Source: TC Palm, "Rep. Snyder's anti-illegal immigration bill gets GOP Executive Committee backing," Jim Turner, 2 Nov 2010

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