This state is particularly important to watch, as Florida is the state with the third-largest Latino population in the country, comprising a high percentage of Cubans and Puerto Ricans. Florida Hispanics have strongly opposed an Arizona-style law, as many say it would lead to racial profiling.
State Senator Paula Dockery (R) wanted to push Arizona-style legislation. Along with State Representative Kevin Ambler, she also wanted to put the issue on the special session agenda, but it did not get the votes for it. It is expected that they will push the bill again in the upcoming session. She has also been named part of Governor-elect Rick Scott’s transition team.
House of Representatives: Republicans retain the majority (D – 39; R – 81).
State Representative Will Snyder has drafted Arizona-style legislation that goes further than Arizona and includes mandatory E-Verify and plans to introduce it next session. Some controversy already surround the bill, as it would provide an exemption for Canadians and Europeans, allowing such immigrants to show the passports from their home country as proof of legal status.
Governor: After attacking his opponent for being weak on immigration in the primary, Governor-elect Rick Scott (R) stayed silent on immigration in his general election against Alex Sink (D), possibly indicating that he will not push the issue as governor.
NCLR’s Florida State Assessment: Likely to be debated
Florida filed a legal brief in support of Arizona’s controversial immigration law and it seems likely that some kind of Arizona copycat legislation will emerge in the state. It is unclear how popular the legislation would be, especially given that the legislative year starts late and will be impacted by the success or failure of legislation in other states.