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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

LeMieux likes Arizona immigration law now but once said it went 'too far, too quick'



George LeMieux has reintroduced immigration into Florida's GOP U.S. Senate primary, saying he supports an Arizona-style law for Florida.

"I fully support Arizona's attempt to get control of their illegal immigration problem," LeMieux tweeted yesterday, referring to Gov. Jan Brewer's appeal to the Supreme Court over lower court decisions blocking controversial parts of the law.

LeMieux also wrote on his website: "The federal government has failed for far too long to protect our borders and address our system of legal immigration, resulting in more crime and more costs for communities all over America. I fully support Arizona’s attempt to get control of their illegal immigration problem and I supported a similar Florida style law to address the challenges specific to our state. When I return to the US Senate, I will vote to secure our borders and reach a solution once and for all."

The candidate earlier this year said he supported an E-Verify measure under consideration by the Florida Legislature (it died). But his views toward Arizona were once quite different. As an interim U.S. senator, he said Arizona went "too far, too quick."

The Buzz was given this video, taken by a tracker in the bowels of the U.S. Capitol, in which LeMieux is asked, "Do you think the Arizona immigration law should be adopted in Florida?"


"I don't. I understand why people in Arizona are concerned about immigration. They have problems. They have tremendous border issues and people are concerned about their safety and security. But that's not the right thing for Florida. Really, you shouldn't make legislation in a crisis. And I think they went too far, too quick."

LeMieux's spokesman Brian Seitchik had this to say about the disconnect between LeMieux now and then:

"After traveling to the Arizona border and seeing the issues firsthand, Senator LeMieux supports Arizona's attempts to get a handle on their immigration problem in light of the federal government's failure to do so. He believes that the citizens of Florida need a different solution; our problem is visa overstays, not border crossings. The Senator believes when lawfully making a stop of a person they have reasonable suspicion committed a crime, law enforcement should have the right to check immigration status.  When he returns to the US Senate, he will vote to secure our borders and reach a solution once and for all."

[Last modified: Thursday, August 11, 2011 4:44pm]


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