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Rick Scott Endorses Arizona-Style Immigration Enforcement

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/02/10 11:37 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:15 PM ET

Rick Scott Illegal Immigration Law

Florida Governor-elect Rick Scott (R) recently gave his blessing to the practice of asking suspects who are stopped by authorities for proof of their citizenship, a measure suggested in a recent Arizona-style immigration bill proposed in his state.

"We need to come up with an immigration policy that works for the country,'' he said, according to the Miami Herald. "Finally, if you're stopped in our state -- no different than if you're asked for your ID -- you should be able to be asked if you're legal or not."

Scott apparently has not yet read the legislation, brought forth by State Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Bennett (R), which means it is unclear whether the Sunshine State's next governor also supports wording in the bill that would implement a fine and possible jail time for legal immigrants who don't carry proof of their legal status.

"I have no specifics right now on what an immigration bill would have to have, but his position is still if someone violates Florida laws, the police should ask if they are legal or not,'' said Scott spokesman Trey Stapleton. "If they are in the state illegally they should be deported.''

The legislation, based upon a partially-successful and highly controversial law signed earlier this year in Arizona by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and supported by Scott during his campaign, is already drawing criticism for its supposed threat to American freedoms.

State Sen. Bennett, who recently conceded that he doesn't "think anyone is looking for a bill that has a police officer stopping everyone on the street who has a tan or dark hair,'' has denied that there is anything in his proposal that would encourage profiling or infringe upon anyone's rights.

"We're not doing a racial profiling type bill," Bennett said of his legislation, which would allow law enforcement to ask for documentation if there is "reasonable suspicion" that a suspect is illegally in the United States. "I think we have to find ways to correct the illegal immigration problem. How do we reduce the amount of illegals involved in criminals activities?"

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