Florida Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bill McCollum is in a heated race for the GOP seat, and primaries are just weeks away. What's a man to do? Why, propose an SB-1070-inspired law for his own state, naturally.
That's exactly what McCollum did yesterday at a press conference in Orlando. "I support the Arizona immigration law," McCollum told reporters. "But this is our law, not their law. Arizona is going to want our law."
The Palm Beach Post reports that McCollum said Arizona's anti-immigrant law can be improved upon. He intends to strengthen his state's version of SB 1070. Under his proposal with Rep. Bill Snyder, Florida law enforcement would be required to check the immigration status of anyone they stop who they believe might be undocumented. Those who can't produce proof of their legal status would be sent to jail, and then be deported. McCollum's proposal also calls for harsher sentences and restrictions on those who turn out to be undocumented.
Never mind the fact that Arizona is mired in an expensive and long legal battle over SB 1070. Last month a federal judge blocked portions of SB 1070 from going into effect while the courts discussed the constitutionality of the very provisions McCollum is proposing in his state. Arizona faces seven lawsuits over SB 1070, including one from the federal government. The Guardian reported that McCollum insists that his version of the law would not be so vulnerable to attack, and that his law would not rely on or lead to racial profiling either.
McCollum's neck and neck with hospital executive Rick Scott; recent polls give Scott a three-point edge.
If only these were just election stunts. But advocating and passing xenophobic laws is a campaign promise politicians have no problem keeping these days. And anti-immigrant laws haven't exactly hurt Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Since signing SB 1070 into law in April, she's won national fame and notoriety. And her poll numbers are up, just in time for her August 24 primary.