Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bennett files Arizona-style immigration bill (UPDATED)

As he promised last summer, State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, has filed an Arizona-style immigration bill that would give Florida law enforcement the authority to ask suspected illegal immigrants about their status.

“I just want to make sure we handle this problem with a very even hand," Bennett told the Bradenton Herald's Beth Burger. "I know there’s a lot of people that say, 'Throw them all out.' ... I have a lot questions myself. The only way I can control this and get discussions going is to have a bill."

Senate Bill 136, filed last week, "is intended to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens in this state and the economic activity by persons unlawfully present in this state," the proposed legislation reads.

“If the sheriff arrests somebody and they are here illegally," said Bennett, "we should be able to call (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and get them out of our lives."

The measure, as currently drafted, explicitly prohibits the use of racial or other type of profiling to determine whom is ask to prove that they are legally in the United States. Officers would have to have a "reasonable suspicion" that someone is in the country illegally before asking about their status.

"A law enforcement officer of this state or a political subdivision of this state may not consider race, color, or national origin when implementing the requirements of this subsection, except to the extent permitted by the United States constitution or the state constitution," the proposal reads.

The bill is based on a new Arizona law requiring police investigating another incident or crime to ask people about their immigration status if there’s a “reasonable suspicion” they’re in the country illegally.

Bennett's measure would require local law enforcement to contact federal immigration officials of people who cannot prove they are in the country legally. Also, anyone found to not be carrying proof of their immigration status could be fined up to $100 and sentenced to up to 20 days in jail.

To read Senate Bill 136, go here.


  1. Why do we have to pass a law allowing law enforcement to enforce the law?

    When they say "license and registration" right now, what do they do when you say, "oops, I don't have one?"

  2. Ok, so with all the identity theft that is going on in this world we are going to be expected to carry our birthcertificates, US passport or immigrations documentation? What if our purse/wallet get stolen? All our documents are gone. Would be still be fined? That is completley wrong! And what if we are not white of skin and have colored skin that even looks hispanic we will be stoped just to be asked if we are legal? if that isn't racial that what is?

  3. What an ignoramus Sen. Bennett must be. Cops have been asking about immigration status for the 33 years I've practiced criminal law in Florida. For goodness sake, Mike. There is an ICE facility at Port manatee where the illegal immigrants who are caught by the cops are taken. Political grandstqanding at its best.

  4. I think all 50 states need to get on the band wagon with this bill ! Bottom line...if you're in this country illegally you should be deported trial, no liberal lawyers or courts !! We need to take back our country !! I have no problem producing ID on demand....if I forget my wallet, I don't leave the house !!

  5. to anonymous, they cannot LEGALLY pull anyone over just because they look Hispanic,what they are doing is saying that when they pull you over for a LEGAL reason, they can also inquire about immigration status. If they pull you over for a "illegal immigrant check", it will not hold up in court. Otherwise, we have other illegal immigrants in this state other than hispanics. And, if your wallet/purse was stolen and you were white, you would still get in trouble for driving around with no license.
    I think its time we start taking care of the CITIZENS of this country. There are many angry hispanics that I have spoken to that are angry because they work so hard to become legal immigrants to this country while others freeload. Too much time and money has been spent on people who do not contribute financially to this country.

  6. I bet Mike Bennett doesn't mind his flower beds being tended or his vegetables being picked by someone willing to be paid a fraction of what a white worker would make.

  7. Is that the same dude that was busted looking at porn last year at his computer in the Senate?!