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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

McCollum draws mixed reaction in Miami-Dade for his immigration stand

Attorney General Bill McCollum drew mixed reactions today from the Miami Dade members of his leadership team when he announced he would support an Arizona-style immigration law in Florida. Some members, such as Rep. Juan Zapata, a Miami Republican of Columbian descent, staunchly opposed McCollum's position while some supporters of Cuban descent -- who are protected by the wet-foot/dry-foot immigration laws -- were less offended.

"We need to get a handle on illegal immigration,'' said Rep. Esteban Bovo, R-Hialeah, a Cuban American. "As long as we stay focused on that issue I support what's happened in Arizona. But what we have to be very wary of is this can become a witch hunt after anybody who looks a certain way. I have no problem with Bill McCollum saying we need to take control of our borders…but if it becomes a witch hunt that’s when you lose me.’’

Bovo said the issues of Arizona's law touches a vein and has been a difficult issue for him and many of his friends over the past several days but "it's not an issue in my community.''

He said he wants to give Arizona the benefit of the doubt and believes the boycotts and "reaction to Arizona trying to secure our border has gotten over the top,'' Bovo said. "I don’t think this hurts McCollum in South Florida. I think most law abiding people want to see illegal immigration come under control.’’

Rep. Carlos Lopez Cantera, R-Miami who is also of Cuban descent, said he doesn't agree with McCollum that there is a need for a law here in Florida but doesn't know how it will affect his support in Miami Dade.

"I'd have to read his statement,'' he said. "As far as I'm concerned, I don't think Florida has a problem like Arizona does. I realize there's a problem in Arizona. They have a serious problem but I don't think you can compare it to Florida."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:37am]

    

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