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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hispanic lawmakers oppose controversial immigration bills

Florida's legislative Hispanic caucus -- led by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah -- put out this release just as SB 2040, an immigration crackdown bill, came to the floor of the Florida Senate Tuesday afternoon:

Florida Hispanic Legislative Caucus Expresses its Stance on the Immigration Bills SB 2040/HB 7089

Illegal immigration is a serious issue facing both Florida and the United States.  As members of the Hispanic Caucus we understand the need for and encourage reform, but unfortunately SB 2040/HB 7089, relating to “Enforcement of Immigration Laws”, are not sensible solutions.  The country as a whole must tackle the issue of illegal immigration and deal with this issue by enacting uniform, comprehensive and common-sense legislation.

The Hispanic Caucus does not support Arizona-type legislation that has the strong potential of profiling a certain group of individuals and provides for warrantless arrests.  We appreciate the bill sponsors' intentions, but know that HB 7089/SB 2040 will not accomplish its intended or our ultimate goals without racially profiling and harassing a certain segment of the population who has arrived in the United States for the same individual liberties that many of our family members did.

We are in agreement with some portions of SB 2040/HB 7089 such as ensuring employers do all they can to ensure they have a legal workforce by using the e-verify program or some acceptable alternative, and increased cooperation amongst law enforcement agencies.  However, we cannot sit idly by and allow local law enforcement officers to act as federal immigration officers.  This would lead to distrust, animosity, and increased tension between residents and local law enforcement.  Moreover, we have concerns regarding double jeopardy and other basic tenets of our justice system. 

The Hispanic Caucus looks forward to continue working on immigration reform, but at this time we cannot support measures such as SB 2040/HB 7089.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 1:33pm]


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