Scott, McCollum Agree: Obama Wrong on Immigration
Florida Republican gubernatorial contenders Bill McCollum and Rick Scott have been blasting each other over immigration, but joined together Thursday in criticizing President Obama’s proposed overhaul.
In his first major address on immigration, Obama urged Congress to approve legislation toughening border security and creating a path toward citizenship for the estimated 11 million people illegally in the U.S.
Obama also repeated his opposition to Arizona’s law giving law enforcement officers broad authority to question the immigration status of residents.
Scott has aired television ads endorsing the Arizona law. McCollum, after initially distancing himself from the Arizona law, now supports it – but says it’s not needed in Florida.
Neither contender liked Obama’s approach.
“President Obama just doesn’t get it,” Scott said. “The federal government has failed to do its job and secure our borders.”
Scott added that, “it is clearly time for the states to take matters into their own hands..”
The former health care executive, whose private investments include a company which assists immigrants – some doubtlessly illegal – transfer money to their home countries, also touted an Internet-based eligibility system used by employers in four states, including Arizona.
Requiring Florida employers to participate in the so-called E-verify system would make it harder for illegal immigrants to get jobs, Scott said.
For his part, McCollum dismissed Obama’s approach, saying it “missed the point.”
“Instead of offering solutions to crack down on illegal immigration, President Obama’s plan would allow amnesty for illegal aliens, rewarding those who break the law and penalizing the ones who play by the rules,” McCollum said. “States like Arizona have been forced to step up measures to address illegal immigration, and it’s time for Florida to do more as well.”
Recent polls show a plurality of Florida voters oppose reform efforts that would give undocumented immigrants a chance to gain legal status. A Mason-Dixon Political Research survey in May found 45 percent of Floridians opposed, compared to 39 percent in favor of such steps.
An Arizona-styled law draws stronger support in other polls, helped largely by the backing of Republican voters and registered independents.