Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Florida vs. Arizona

For some reason, the idea of copying Arizona’s tough “papers, please” immigration law has lost its charm in Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign pledge to bring an Arizona-style immigration law to Florida faces an uncertain future in the Legislature, with the bill’s chief Senate sponsor expressing doubts about the controversial measure.

”There probably will not be an Arizona-immigration style bill that passes the Florida Senate,” said Sen. Mike Bennett, a Bradenton Republican.

Bennett said he’s deeply concerned with the part of the bill that’s most identified with Arizona’s law: the requirement that local police officers with ”reasonable suspicion” attempt to determine a person’s immigration status during a routine traffic stop or arrest.

Echoing civil libertarians and Hispanic lawmakers, Bennett said the measure could lead to racial or ethnic profiling. Though the bill explicitly bans discrimination, he said it might not be enough.

”I might not even vote for it myself,” said Bennett, adding that he copied much of the Arizona law ”to start the conversation” about immigration reform.

Let’s hope it’s a really short chat.