WHEN THE ANTI-IMMIGRANT CROWD EXEMPTS WHITE PEOPLE…. Arizona’s odious anti-immigrant bill has inspired far-right lawmakers to push related proposals in states nationwide, but state Rep. William Snyder (R) in Florida seems to have a unique spin on the issue.
In Arizona, of course, when local law enforcement officials have “reasonable suspicions” that someone may have entered the country illegally, suspects are expected to prove their citizenship status. Of course, as a practical matter, “reasonable suspicions” effectively means “being darker than a manila envelope.”
In Florida, Snyder insists that he opposes racial profiling, but the closer one looks at his proposal, the harder that is to believe.
What few observers seem to have noticed, though, is a bizarre clause Snyder included on page 3. Even if an officer has “reasonable suspicions” over a person’s immigration status, the bill says, a person will be “presumed to be legally in the United States” if he or she provides “a Canadian passport” or a passport from any “visa waiver country.”
What are the visa waiver countries? Other than four Asian nations, all 36 are in Western Europe, from France to Germany to Luxembourg.
In other words, Snyder’s bill tells police to drop their “reasonable suspicions” of anyone hailing from dozens of countries full of white people.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott has already endorsed Snyder’s proposal, and has vowed to support it if elected.
Asked in a recent radio interview about the provision, Snyder said it’s intended to be “comfort language” for “Canadians wintering here in Florida.”
First, winter is not a verb. Second, as a South Florida native, I know from experience that plenty of families from throughout Latin America spend their summers in the state, too. Do they not deserve “comfort language,” or is Snyder deliberately trying to undermine the tourism industry Florida is so dependent upon?
And third, Alex Pareene added sarcastically, “I guess Canadians and Europeans are never in the U.S., on expired or no visas, working jobs illegally. It’s just the Mexicans.”