A proposed Arizona-style immigration law for Florida, which Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rick Scott has pledged to sign if elected, would allow police to presume two groups of people to be in this country legally. Here’s a guess: none of those groups is the color brown … From the Miami New Times:
Florida state Rep. William Snyder, the slow-drawling ex-Miami-Dade Police officer who has drafted Tallahassee’s version of the hotly debated Arizona immigration bill, is adamant that his law would not lead to racial profiling.
“Race, ethnicity, and national origin cannot be used in making arrests. It’s immoral, illegal, and unconstitutional,” he said in a recent radio interview.
So why does his bill explicitly offer a free pass to Canadians and Western Europeans, who need only show a passport to be “presumed to be legally in the United States”?
“That language makes it clear that police are targeting only a specific minority,” says Susana Barciela, policy director at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center.
Snyder drafted his homage in August, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott last week pledged to support the bill if elected.
What few observers seem to have noticed, though, is a bizarre clause Snyder included on page 3. Even if an officer has “reasonable suspicions” over a person’s immigration status, the bill says, a person will be “presumed to be legally in the United States” if he or she provides “a Canadian passport” or a passport from any “visa waiver country.”
What are the visa waiver countries? Other than four Asian nations, all 32 other countries are in Western Europe, from France to Germany to Luxembourg.
In other words, Snyder’s bill tells police to drop their “reasonable suspicions” of anyone hailing from dozens of countries full of white people.
Snyder wouldn’t do an interview with the New Times to explain why Canadians and Western Europeans are so special. But he did tell a radio jock that the language in his bill is meant to be “comfort language,” for all the many Canadians who winter in the sunshine state (psst! It’s cold up there in Canada…)
During an NAACP candidate forum in Miami on Monday, I asked Scott’s running mate Jennifer Carroll, herself an immigrant from a country that is neither Canada nor in Western Europe (she’s Trinidadian) whether an Arizona-style law was in Florida’s future if she and Scott were elected, and whether as an immigrant, she’d be comfortable with that. She said no such thing would pass. (I would have also asked Alex Sink or her running mate … what’s his name … what either of them thought about the idea, but well … they didn’t bother to show up. Go figure…) But presumably, Snyder’s law would make the LG’s life more … interesting.
Read the bill’s draft language at the New Times.
And per ThinkProgress, a reminder that as recently as last week, Scott said he’d sign a law like Snyder’s, despite his running mate’s assertions. And just for fun, tea party Senate candidate Marco Rubio — who is neither Canadian nor Western European — also supports such a law. Luckily for him, Nate Silver says he’ll be safely in Washington by the time Rick Scott turns Florida into Alabama, with Hispanics playing the part of the black people, and thus will be safely out of the clutches of the po-po. (The IRS, however, is another matter…)