Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz looking to bring Arizona’s immigration law to Florida

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With the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding a key part of Arizona’s immigration law, the incoming Senate president in Florida said it wouldn’t be unlikely to see legislation here that mirrors the provision. The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a section of the law that requires police to try to determine the immigration status of people who are stopped if there’s reasonable suspicion they may here illegally. Other parts of the law – including a provision that would make it a crime for immigrants not to carry their registration papers – were thrown out.

Sen. Don Gaetz, expected to take over in November as Senate president, told the Palm Beach Post via The News Service of Florida that the part of the Arizona law that was upheld makes sense. “When someone is stopped for a DUI or speeding or anything else, it is customary for law enforcement officers to check to see if other laws have been broken or if there are outstanding warrants,” said Gaetz. “So I don’t think it’s outside the realm of reasonables that we check to determine whether someone is breaking federal law with regard to illegal alien status. Legislation filed in Florida in recent years has failed to pass, but one of the arguments against it – that its main provision would be unconstitutional – is now off the table. A measure seeking to give police the requirement for checking immigration status in Florida died in committee during the 2011 session, and no such bill moved this past year.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.