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Rick Perry, immigration enforcement and the Florida Legislature

Published on Fri, Sep 30, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s statements on immigration in Florida last week and the reaction of immigration enforcement only policy supporters seems to be having an impact on the Florida Legislature.

According to The Miami Herald:

Florida’s Tea Party activists say they will accept nothing short of requiring every employer to check the immigration status of their workers through the federal E-verify program in January when legislators convene in regular session. But armed with the support of Florida’s powerful agriculture and business groups, the same legislative leaders who last year promised Arizona-style immigration reform are now barely offering tentative support for it.

The Herald adds: “House Speaker Dean Cannon, whose chamber proposed but never passed an Arizona-style immigration enforcement plan last year, said that immigration reform may take a back seat to balancing the budget, reapportionment and strengthening the economy.”

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolis, R-Merritt Island, said last week that his chamber would pass the same immigration bill it passed in the 2011 session. At this year’s RedState Gathering, Gov. Rick Scott said that an immigration enforcement bill “will happen this session.”

According to Numbers USA — an organization that wants “lower immigration levels” — Perry’s results in the Florida straw poll can be blamed on his weak stance on immigration enforcement. The group writes that “Texas Gov. Rick Perry is proving that appearing to be more concerned about illegal-alien workers than about unemployed Americans doesn’t work in Republican primaries.”

According to Immigration Daily, an immigration law publisher, “during the Republican presidential debate in Florida, Governor Rick Perry’s stand on immigration landed him in second in the straw poll. The issue that cost him a large number of supporters was his support of the Texas bill that made Texas the first state to let illegal immigrant children pay in-state college tuition.”

The Daily adds that despite this position on college tuition, Perry “opposes the DREAM Act, opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, and has spent ten years and $400 million securing Texas’ border from illegal immigration.”

The Immigration Policy Center adds to the debate, stating that Perry’s Republican opponents “mischaracterize in-state tuition for unauthorized immigrants, claiming that it comes at the expense of native-born students.” The Policy Center argues that “providing in-state tuition is the government’s recognition that kids who have already been educated in the state should be able to complete that education."

Published in the The Florida Independent | Read Article