Florida’s Rick Scott Chided over Immigration Stance with Billboard

Fox News Latino, February 9, 2012

Florida Gov. Rick Scott received a sarcastic pat on the back for welcoming undocumented immigrants from a group in the state that wants stricter immigration laws.

The Pompano Beach-based nonprofit Floridians for Immigration Enforcement is delivering the tongue-in-cheek message on a billboard that went up Wednesday on Interstate 75, between the Georgia border and Interstate 10.

The billboard reads: “Welcome Illegal Immigrants: We offer jobs, health care, education and benefits.” It suggests that undocumented immigrants thank the Republican governor.

It also features the iconic yellow-and-black graphic of a family running that often appears on roads near the U.S.-Mexican border to alert motorists to immigrants crossing.

The governor’s office declined to comment on the sign.

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The group is angry that bills that would require companies in Florida to use an online federal program to identify whether a potential new hire can legally work have stalled in Tallahassee. The E-verify program is voluntary at the federal level. Yet a small but growing number of states now require many employers use it. {snip}

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Last year, an attempt to incorporate some E-verify provisions into a broader immigration bill passed the Senate but died in the House amid opposition from the state’s powerful agriculture and hospitality industries.

As one of his first acts in office, Scott issued an executive order to state agencies and their contractors to use E-verify for new hires. Scott told The Associated Press last summer he would review the results of this existing program and talk to business leaders before deciding whether to push to advocate in favor of making E-verify mandatory statewide.

The Miami-based Florida Immigrant Coalition called the sign a message “from a very small group who also support anti-immigrant and racial profiling laws like the ones that Georgia and Alabama have.” {snip}

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