Never mind that Florida has no immigration problem. Our biggest problem with "illegals" are Europeans who overstay their visa. We don't border Mexico, and our Hispanic community is mostly Puerto Rican (sorry guys, US citizens) and Cuban (granted asylum if they touch land..not illegal).
None of this stopped Slick Rick from running million-dollar ads demanding an AZ-style law here: even demanding Charlie Crist call a special session to implement one. But for once, he didn't get his way. Just recently, the FL legislature dropped it from their immigration reform bill.
Oh, how I wish I could say that Rick Scott's FAIL was due to Florida Democratic leaders finally showing some spine and speaking out. But no, they were too busy honoring him with an award.
(God, we are so fucking lame.)
No, it failed because Big Business cracked the whip on the old-school GOP in the legislature. Several business associations, including the all powerful Florida Chamber of Commerce, let it be known that bashing minorities is wicked fun for elections, but since Florida has no real industry except tourism, a boycott in this state would make Arizona's 90 million dollar loss seem like chump change.
Not that Rick Scott or his teabag allies gave a fuck about that. They wanted the Arizona law here now! And figured the high hurdle in the state legislature wouldn't be that it was racist, but actually thought IT WASN'T RACIST ENOUGH!
That's why Rick Scott strongly supported a bill by the chairman of the House Judiciary committee, William Snyder. Snyder's bill not only allowed police to harass people "suspected" of being here illegally, it EXPLICITLY EXEMPTED CAUCASIANS from being harassed!
So under the proposed law, Canadians and Western Europeans will simply be presumed to be here legally, and they are not required to document it. “That language makes it clear that police are targeting only a specific minority,” Susana Barciela, policy director at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, told the New Times.
This was the absolute closest they could get to saying "white people exempted". The sponsor of the bill even admits his bill was not about "the rule of law" or even "jobs". He just plain don't like the brown folk:
My feelings for this issue and my passion for this issue is not just for the rule of law,” said Rep. William Snyder, R-Stuart. “It’s not just about jobs – which it is to some extent – it’s about what we’ve allowed to occur in our country.”
This is the bill Rick Scott really wanted and promised to sign if it made it to his desk. But even in this backward state, that was too much for even this GOP to justify.
He then threw his support behind GOP State Senator Mike Bennet's bill, which would have required all LEGAL immigrants to carry their papers with them at all times.. and fine them up to $100 and a 20-day jail sentence if they don't have their papers with them.
But the State House, probably discovering that Rick Scott is as popular as asbestos, decided to go with a more sensible approach. Last week they dropped the requirements of an AZ-style bill. The current one moving through only requires police to check the immigration status of a person who is under arrest or is the subject of a criminal investigation.
Don't feel too bad for Rick. Why, just this week he was able to simultaneously kick disabled kids in the teeth AND give out huge bonuses to his cronies (h/t Jaxpagan).
Besides, Rick Scott will still manage to profit from this... like he always profits from what he attacks. He hates Big Government, but will make billions from it. He hates Government-Run Healthcare, but made his entire fortune (so far) from Medicare (and from stealing from it). He hates illegal immigration, but according to those ultra-liberals at REDSTATE, he is making a handsome profit from a company that supplies a critical part of the illegal immigration infrastructure.
Even so, its a defeat for Rick Scott and a small victory for sanity in Florida. And living here these days, I take whatever I can get.