Florida's SB 1070 Knockoff Lets Canadians Off the Hook. Hispanics: Not So Much

Like a lot of states, Florida has recently drafted its own version of SB 10-70, Arizona's controversial immigration bill. The bills are very similar, but there is one difference: Canadians and people from certain European countries get a free pass because people from those countries are usually white thanks to the Florida State Representative who drafted the bill.

New Times' sister paper, Miami New Times, took a look at Florida's new bill and found a loophole that allows Canadians, and anyone with a passport from a "visa waiver country," to pass the "reasonable suspicion" test just by showing a passport.

The bill was drafter by Florida State Representative William Snyder, who MNT describes as a "slow-drawling ex-Miami-Dade Police officer." Sound like anyone you know?

Check out an excerpt of the MNT piece below.

Snyder drafted his homage in August, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott last week pledged to support the bill if elected.

What few observers seem to have noticed, though, is a bizarre clause Snyder included on page 3. Even if an officer has "reasonable suspicions" over a person's immigration status, the bill says, a person will be "presumed to be legally in the United States" if he or she provides "a Canadian passport" or a passport from any "visa waiver country."

What are the visa waiver countries? Other than four Asian nations, all 32 other countries are in Western Europe, from France to Germany to Luxembourg.

In other words, Snyder's bill tells police to drop their "reasonable suspicions" of anyone hailing from dozens of countries full of white people. How is that not racial profiling?

Snyder backed out of an interview with Riptide, but here's what he recently said on immigration advocate Subhash Kateel's radio show, Let's Talk About It, on 880 AM:

"What we're doing there is trying to be sensitive to Canadians. We have an enormous amount of... Canadians wintering here in Florida," he said. "That language is comfort language."

Check out the entire article here.

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James King
Contact: James King