Florida State Representative William Snyder

Proposed Florida immigration bill would exempt white immigrants

A Republican bill wouldn't make Canadians or western Europeans prove they're in Florida legally


Alex Pareene
October 21, 2010 1:15AM (UTC)

Florida Republican state legislator William Snyder has proposed a great new immigration law for his state, modeled on that one in Arizona. But this one -- which GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott supports, of course -- has a special twist: White people are exempt!

The more articulate/acceptable-to-the-mainstream supporters of the Arizona law usually point out that the law forbids police from racial profiling. The proposed Florida bill doesn't really bother pretending.

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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.

Others detained by the police would need to carry papers proving that they're in the U.S. legally. Because, I guess, Canadians and Europeans are never in the U.S., on expired or no visas, working jobs illegally. It's just the Mexicans.

(One more thing that will be tough for Florida's law enforcement: Cubans that make it to the U.S. -- including those who enter from Mexico -- are allowed to be here. Just no Mexicans!)


Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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