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AZ lite immigration bill moves in House

Gov. Rick Scott’s pledge to bring an Arizona-style immigration law to Florida probably won’t happen, but a House committee voted Thursday to bring him the next best thing.

The new Florida immigration reform plan would require police to check the immigration status of a person who is under arrest or is the subject of a criminal investigation.

That language stops short of Arizona’s controversial law, which requires police to determine a person’s immigration status whenever the officer makes “any lawful contact” with the individual.

To critics, Florida’s proposal will essentially allow for the same type of racial or ethnic profiling that they say is the inevitable product of Arizona’s law.

But proponents say Florida just needs to crackdown on illegal immigration to ensure the nation’s laws are followed. Like the Arizona law, the House proposal requires all employers to verify employees’ work status.

“My feelings for this issue and my passion for this issue is not just for the rule of law,” said Rep. William Snyder, R-Stuart. “It’s not just about jobs – which it is to some extent – it’s about what we’ve allowed to occur in our country.”

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