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Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Friday expressed his belief that the State Legislature will pass a law in 2012 that aims to crack down on illegal immigrants, despite the failure of the lawmakers to reach an agreement regarding the issue this year.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Scott said, “If somebody is in our country illegally, and they’re violating our laws, we ought to be able to ask them if they’re legal or not. That’s what I’d like to have happen.”
Law enforcement officers in the state are already permitted to ask the legal status of immigrants that they arrest, however, the immigrants do not have to answer.
In addition, the Obama administration has made the Secure Communities program mandatory. This would require local law enforcement officers to check the fingerprints of persons they arrest against the immigration databases of the Department of Homeland Security. It was not made clear how the proposal of Gov. Scott would differ from the existing law.
The governor said that he still has to make a decision on whether to make mandatory the federal government’s E-verify system for all companies that are operating in Florida. This system allows employers to verify the status of their employees and to know whether that employee is an American citizen or an illegal immigrant. Critics have said that the system taxing for employers and usually make a lot of errors.
Opposition by hospitality and state agriculture industry leaders to a compulsory E-verify program is one of the primary reasons why the attempts to pass an immigration measure failed during the previous session.