Florida lawmakers shift course on immigration policy
TALLAHASSEE — Just three years after Florida's Republican leadership approved cheaper college tuition for non-citizens, President Donald Trump has realigned the state's immigration debate and GOP lawmakers are moving in the opposition direction.
The heated immigration rhetoric from the presidential campaign is echoing across Florida's Capitol as state officials debate legislation designed to crack down on immigrants who do not have legal status.
"At the end of the day Donald Trump won and he won on a strong immigration platform," said state Rep. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican who is sponsoring one of the immigration bills and co-sponsoring two others. "We're a nation of laws and here in Florida we're no different; people have to respect the rule of law."
GOP lawmakers are proposing harsher penalties for immigrants in the country illegally who commit violent crimes, punishing local governments that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, rolling back the college tuition benefit approved in 2014, forcing businesses to verify the legal status of their employees and a range of other immigration proposals.