During his campaign, Gov. Rick Scott pledged to bring an Arizona-type immigration law to Florida; however, that legislation is losing momentum as the bill's main sponsor, Senator Mike Bennett, is now concerned that the bill could spark controversy regarding racial and ethnic profiling. Interestingly, Bennett is the Senator who recently filed the proposed legislation to initiate conversations about pursuing the passage of an Arizona-type immigration law in Florida.
The provision Bennett expressed doubts over is the requirement that law enforcement officers could request proof of an individual's immigration status during routine traffic stops or arrests. Although the bill is said to prohibit law enforcement from using race as a reason for checking the individual's documentation, Bennett does not feel this will be sufficient in preventing racial or ethic profiling. The issue of discrimination is also a concern for the Legislature's 10-member Hispanic caucus, eight of which are Republican. Furthermore, Hispanics are Florida's fastest growing voting bloc and they account for 72 percent of Miami-Dade's Republican electorate.
Even though Bennett is now reconsidering his previous position on the matter, he and other lawmakers still contend that they do support a requirement for state and potentially private employers to check the immigration status of prospective employees through the federal government's E-Verify system. Gov. Scott has already signed an executive order that requires all agencies under his control to use E-Verify.
As for Scott's position on an immigration law in Florida, he has yet to make a decision.