Florida Tries to Outdo Arizona on Immigration

AG/gubernatorial candidate proposes even tougher law
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2010 6:55 AM CDT
Florida Tries to Outdo Arizona on Immigration
Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum gestures as he speaks during a forum sponsored by the Christian Family Coalition, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010 in Miami.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has proposed a sweeping new immigration bill that makes Arizona’s look tame. The bill would require immigrants to carry documentation at all times, or risk 20 days in jail, and would allow judges to more harshly punish illegal immigrants accused of the same crimes as legal residents. “Arizona is going to want this bill,” boasted McCollum, who just happens to be running for governor. “We’re stronger, we’re tougher and we’re fairer.”

The bill has met with mixed reviews among Republicans, business leaders, and law enforcement, the Miami Herald reports. Many of the state’s Hispanic Republicans fiercely rebuked the law. “This could jeopardize civil liberties,” said Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami, the House majority whip. The bill represents an about-face for McCollum, who originally called Arizona’s law too “far out,” and was summarily hammered in the polls, as his primary opponent called him soft on immigration. (Read more Arizona immigration law stories.)

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