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- 04-25-2012, 08:57 AM #1
FL--Rick Scott's tough talk on immigration has vanished
Rick Scott's tough talk on immigration has vanished
10:49 p.m. EST, April 24, 2012|Scott Maxwell, TAKING NAMES
Rick Scott was sitting inside the Orlando Sentinel's editorial boardroom last week sounding particularly pensive.
He had been asked about immigration reform, and Scott was quick to say who he thought should handle the issue not him.
"The federal government ought to do their job," he said. " We need a national immigration policy "
His thoughts were big-picture, macro and absolutely contrary to what he promised on the campaign trail.
Back then, Rick was a full of tough talk and big promises. He wanted to be the new sheriff in town, rooting out illegal immigrants and anyone who harbored them.
There was no talk of buck-passing to the feds. No need for comprehensive solutions.
Rick simply amped up the immigration rhetoric and beat Bill McCollum senseless with planks from the border fence he wanted to build.
If you thought Arizona's law was tough on immigrants and employers, just wait until Sheriff Rick took office.
"Rick Scott backs Arizona's law. He'll bring it to Florida " boasted one ad.
"Rick will require all Florida employers to use the free E-Verify system to ensure that their workers are legal," said another.
Now for the reality check: He has done neither of those things.
And that's a shame, because some of the reform is needed. Some.
Florida has never needed "Arizona-style immigration." That controversial law does more to scare off tourists than illegal immigrants. And the idea of asking cops to hassle people because of their skin color is simply un-American.
What we really need is a comprehensive reform at the federal level. New Rick had that right.
But until that happens, we need what Old Rick promised reform at the employer level.
This has always been the key. Quite simply, illegal immigrants won't come to a country where they can't make a living.
That's where E-Verify comes in. This simple and inexpensive computer program run by the U.S. government allows employers to run employees' names through the database to see if they are legal citizens. And, while not perfect, it boasts an accuracy rate of greater than 98 percent.
Oh, and Big Business hates it.
You see, cheap and illegal labor is good for the bottom line. So Big Business has mounted a vigorous campaign against mandatory E-Verify, predicting all sorts of doomsday scenarios if forced to use it.
Their complaints are largely malarkey. A growing number of states including neighboring states of Alabama and Georgia have already passed laws to require employers to use the system.
Old Rick promised to do the same in Florida. Yet it has not happened.
New Rick blames this on the Legislature, which is run my members of his own party who also claim to support E-Verify.
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Essentially, Florida is a state run by politicians who claim to want E-Verify, but refuse to make it happen.
They want it both ways demagoguing the issue for the immigrant-obsessed crowds while also sating the business execs who fill their campaign coffers.
I recently had lunch with a fellow pushing serious reform efforts who predicted Scott wouldn't be able to dodge this issue forever that his red-meat base would force him to take action.
Hogwash, I responded. Where else are they going to go? Besides, some like the fist-pounding more than serious reform. It won't matter if Scott fails to deliver. As long as he screams about immigrants in the next election, they'll be right back beside him.
The politicians will keep pandering to the suckers while taking orders from their donors.
Meanwhile, sensible and needed reform won't happen.
That's what's happening in Florida now. It is American politics in a nutshell.The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato
- 04-25-2012, 10:20 AM #2
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