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Latinos only? Fla. immigration law exempts Canadians, Europeans

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A proposed Florida immigration law that mimics the controversial one in Arizona has a provision in it that exempts Canadians and citizens of many European countries from tougher police scrutiny, prompting critics to say the law is blatantly targeted at Latinos.

Under the Florida law proposed by Attorney General Bill McCollum and state Rep. William Snyder, police would be obliged to look into an individual’s immigration status if the officer has “reasonable suspicions” the person may be in the country illegally.

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But a provision in the law first reported on by Tim Elfrink at the Miami New Times states that officers are to assume that a person carrying a Canadian passport or a passport from one of 36 “visa waiver” countries is in the country legally.

“In other words, Snyder’s bill tells police to drop their ‘reasonable suspicions’ of anyone hailing from dozens of countries full of white people. How is that not racial profiling?” Elfrink asks.

He suggests that Rep. Snyder may have been hypocritical when he said in a recent radio interview that “race, ethnicity, and national origin cannot be used in making arrests. It’s immoral, illegal, and unconstitutional.”

The law’s backers say the provision exists so that the state remains friendly to tourists bearing cash; opponents say it’s clear evidence the law is racist and targeted at Latinos.

“What we’re doing there is trying to be sensitive to Canadians,” Rep. Snyder told a radio show recently, as quoted at New Times. “We have an enormous amount of … Canadians wintering here in Florida. … That language is comfort language.”

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But Gabriela Garcia at Change.org argues that, if the provision were about Florida’s tourism industry, it would also exempt Latinos, who make up 52 percent of tourists to Florida:

Ah, yes tons of Canadians wintering here in Florida … along with MILLIONS of South Americans. In the biggest tourism destination in the state, Miami, people from South America comprise 52% of the visitors alone. That’s not even counting tourists from Central America and the Caribbean. These are people with plenty of disposable income, and plenty of tourism options. If Florida became a state suspicious of Latinos, they would just take their billions of dollars elsewhere. For a state whose economy relies so heavily on tourism, especially from Latin America, you’d think politicians would be a little bit more worried about making everyone feel comfortable. But that’s what makes it obvious this little clause isn’t about tourism at all. It’s about using every thin veil and pretense possible to try to legalize racial profiling.

“The Florida law in a nutshell: If you’re a white non-Hispanic, you’re presumed to be in the country legally and don’t need to show any proof. If you belong in the “all others” category, better carry your papers,” Garcia adds.

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Of the 36 visa waiver countries, four are in Asia — Brunei, Japan, Singapore and South Korea — and 30 are European. Australia and New Zealand round off the list.

Florida’s immigration bill was introduced in August, to the delight of many concerned about illegal immigration but to the dismay of the state’s Latino community.

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“This legislation will provide new enforcement tools for protecting our citizens and will help our state fight the ongoing problems created by illegal immigration,” Attorney General McCollum, who was running for governor at the time, said in a press release. “Florida will not be a sanctuary state for illegal aliens.”


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Trump is wallowing in ‘self-pity’ even though McConnell promised to protect him: Morning Joe

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Appearing on MNBC's "Morning Joe," New York Times reporter Peter Baker said Donald Trump is wallowing in "self-pity" that fluctuates with "combativeness" as he worries about the effect being impeached will have on his legacy.

Speaking with host Joe Scarborough, Baker filled in the blanks from his Times report, saying the president is obsessed with the impeachment hearings and Senate trial still to come.

Asked by host Scarborough about Trump's "humiliation," Baker said, "He can count on the Republican-controlled Senate to hold the trial where he seems almost certain to be acquitted, or at least see the charges dismissed in some fashion."

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WATCH LIVE: House holds historic vote on the impeachment of Donald Trump

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After a 14-hour House Judiciary Committee Thursday hearing considering the impeachment of Donald Trump, Democrats and Republicans on the committee will reconvene once again Friday morning where they are expected to finally vote on the articles of impeachment before sending them to the House floor for a full vote scheduled for next week.

According to NBC, "In a surprise move, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler delayed the vote until Friday morning at 10 a.m. after more than 14 hours of debate. There were five votes on Thursday: one to eliminate the first article on abuse of power, a second to strike a reference to former Vice President Joe Biden, a third to note the aid withheld from Ukraine was eventually released, a fourth to strike entire second amendment on obstruction of Congress and a fifth to strike the last lines in each article. All were voted down and along party lines."

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‘Trump was caught’: Every major GOP excuse for president’s conduct destroyed by ex-prosecutor

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Former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade said Thursday's marathon impeachment hearing left her "shouting" at her television, so she gathered her thoughts and blew up Republican defenses one by one.

McQuade, an MSNBC legal analyst and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, exposed the weaknesses in each of the GOP's sometimes contradictory defenses of President Donald Trump against impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Here are the GOP defenses I have heard so far to articles of impeachment, along with the knee-jerk responses I have been shouting at my television.

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