Senate budget chief JD Alexander is ready to vote against an eVerify provision for the immigration bill that he doesn't much like. The news trickled out when he ran into the ubiquitous immigrant-rights protestors in the halls of the Senate.
"You're a senator, aren't you?" one man asked.
"Yeah," said Alexander.
"You're Sen. JD Alexander?" he asked.
"Yeah," the senator said.
"Can you vote against the bill?" another asked.
"Probably not," said Alexander. "But I'm against eVerify."
Margarita Romo, a pastor from Dade City, then prayed for him in the halls, holding his hands. Later, while walking back to the Senate chamber, Alexander explained why he doesn't like the pre-employment check. I think we have enough government mandates on employers," he said.
"I'm not doing any employer verification," he said, sounding more and more like he'd vote against the entire bill. "Many of these families have been here for more than decade on a wink-wink-nudge-nudge basis. I find it morally wrong to mess with their status now."
If Alexander votes against eVerify, he'll probably join Sen. Anitere Flores of Miami. She was the original force behind the bill, having been tapped to carry the crack-down bill for Senate President Mike Haridopolos. But, as the bill wound through the process, almost no one liked it: Hispanics in her Miami-Dade district, tea-party types and Haridopolos, who's running in a crowded Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
So Flores was effectively pulled off the bill. Now it's in Alexander's hands. And he'd probably prefer to talk about the budget instead.