There’s talk here in the Sunshine State about adopting a “show-me-your-papers” law like they have in Arizona.
So far, the loudest voice is coming from a Republican candidate for governor who is trying to squeeze out front-runner Bill McCollum by playing to the conservative peanut gallery of likely primary voters.
It is doubtful that Florida will embrace the idea of such a law with the same passion as Arizonans…or even the rest of the country, as polls seem to show.
Unlike Arizona, much of Florida’s population (particularly South Florida’s) is no longer trying to hang onto the myth of a “real America,” one where Anglos rule by divine right and folks speak English without accents. By weight of sheer numbers, Latin immigrants to Florida—both legal and illegal—have forged a culture with the indigenous Anglos that redefines what “Americanness” is.
Of course, there are some Anglos, particularly recent arrivals, whose comfort levels are lower than those of us who have been here a while and learned to appreciate the richness of the stew rather than fear its spicy bite.
These folks will always lend a willing ear to opportunistic politicians who would twist xenophobic urges to their own purposes.
The fact is that we should be pressuring Congress to tighten our borders, rather than passing constitutionally doubtful laws that treat our neighbors as though they were subhumans.
Besides, as a lot of Florida politicians—even those from North Florida--know, Florida Hispanics, once motivated, can be a fearsome voting bloc. And they detest this law.