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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

FL Feuding Over Arizona Style Immigration Law

TALLAHASSEE, FL - A tea party activist from Northwest Florida has filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security, contending that Florida state lawmakers should have reported undocumented immigrants they met with to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This week, protesters have swarmed the State Capitol, holding vigils to oppose bills that would create broader police powers similar to those now tied up in the courts in Arizona. Florida Immigration Coalition spokesperson Matalia Jaramillo says passing an Arizona copycat law would wreck Florida's economy.

"There is already a marginal tourism boycott called on Florida, even before the bills have passed; signing a pledge that 'I won't visit Florida if these bills passed.'"

Geoff Ross, a retired Navy veteran who migrated from Great Britain, filed the complaint. He claims the presence of what he terms "illegal aliens" at the Florida Capitol is a threat to national security. Ross says he filed the complaint against two state senators after they met with human rights advocates seeking to bar the Arizona immigration copycat legislation (HB 2089 and SB 2040) from passing in Florida.

"The states control the federal government, not the federal government controls the states. And if the federal government is unwilling or unable, or incapable of enforcing U.S. immigration laws, then it falls upon the states to do that, just like the did in Arizona."

Homeland Security officials in Washington, D.C., have said only that they are looking into the matter.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition estimates that Florida stands to lose up to $45 billion through enforcement, litigation, and the general impact on tourism and industry. 

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