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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Wavering Gov. Scott won't take stand on federal immigration bill



Gov. Rick Scott recently angered some Hispanics when he vetoed a bill that would have allowed children of immigrants to get temporary Florida driver licenses, even if they didn't have all of the necessary documents. Scott said he vetoed the bill because it was based on a policy change by President Obama, not a specific act of Congress -- a move that could cost him support among Hispanic voters in Florida in 2014.

The veto, and the ferocious reaction by Democrats, was a sign that immigration is re-emerging as a political issue in Florida.

At the same time, some leading Florida Republicans have publicly endorsed the immigration reform package moving through the U.S. Senate. A print advertisement  paid for by Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS lists dozens of business and political leaders, including former Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida CFO Jeff Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.

Scott isn't listed, but neither is any other sitting governor. When questioned Thursday, he wouldn't say definitively whether he favors the Senate bill or not.

"I think Senator Rubio has really done a great job, focusing on the discussion, making sure we have an immigration policy that works. I'm happy that he's really focused on securing our borders and having a policy that we all understand," Scott said.

Three years ago, when he ran for governor, Scott promised to being an "Arizona-style" anti-immigration law to Florida to placate hard-liners demanding stricter border security. That never happened, as Scott moderated his tone to appeal to general election voters in 2010.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 13, 2013 11:44am]


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