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Senate immigration leader has serious reservations about reforms

by Dara Kam | April 29th, 2011

Senate budget chief JD Alexander, a citrus farmer who’s now shepherding a developing immigration reform package, expressed his reservations about the push to deport illegal immigrants, many of whom have lived in the state for decades picking fruit and vegetables for his colleagues.

Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said he’s concerned about the fallout from the federal E-Verify program to check on potential employees, something Gov. Rick Scott has already initiated for state government workers and a component tea party activists are pushing lawmakers to pass.

“My personal struggle with E-Verify is that many of these folks have been here for decades for good or for bad,” he said.

In “a perfect world” the federal government would control the borders but instead has given tacit permission for illegal workers to remain in the country, Alexander said.

“It seems challenging to suddenly ask them to not be able to be here. I personally believe we need a federal guest program to allow for some sort of normalization of these folks status where they can be protected by our laws without fear of deportation,” he said. “Because some of these things have been going on for so long, I’m personally troubled by the broad net that could be cast.”

Alexander said he’s having a hard time balancing his duties as budget chief and agricultural baron as he tries to get his blueberry crop harvested.

“I’m probably short about 100 people to get my blueberries picked,” he said, adding that he and other blueberry farmers can find less than half the workers they need to get their crops in.

“For all the unemployment there just aren’t folks who want to pick blueberries,” he said.

The Senate is slated to take up its immigration package on Monday. Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, had pledged that each bill would pass through at least three committees before being sent to the floor for a vote. But he reversed himself on the contentious immigration measure (SB 2040), which was heard in a single committee. Haridopolos also took the bill away from its sponsor, Sen. Anitere Flores, and gave it to Alexander this week. Flores, a Cuban-American Republican from Miami, refused to go along with the Arizona-style bill proposed by the House, sponsored by William Snyder, R-Stuart.

Hundreds of immigrants, including undocumented workers, and children whose parents have been deported have swarmed the Capitol over the past several weeks demanding that lawmakers abandon the immigration package.

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19 Responses to “Senate immigration leader has serious reservations about reforms”

  1. Tea Party Lady Says:

    We Tea Party members embrace immigrants! All we ask is that:

    1) Before they come to this country they say, “please, may I”

    2) They immediately learn how to speak English

    3) They learn our customs and way of life. They can watch “Leave It To Beaver” or “Happy Days” for ideas.

    4) Personally, I love tacos and tamales!

  2. Angry Citizen Says:

    “Senate budget chief JD Alexander, a citrus farmer who’s now shepherding a developing immigration reform package, expressed his reservations about the push to deport illegal immigrants, many of whom have lived in the state for decades picking fruit and vegetables for his colleagues.”

    Colleagues hell, he hires them as well. That is his problem he does not want to send “his illegals” home!

  3. wigglwagon Says:

    “For all the unemployment there just aren’t folks who want to pick blueberries,” he said.”

    That kind of depends, doesn’t it? What does it pay? How about benefits? What kind of insurance and pension is included? Were these things determined by supply and demand as is the price of blueberries?

  4. Joel Wischkaemper Says:

    The American People have been abused for over twenty years on this issue. They called us racist for demanding the law be enforced and now that we have achieve a small measure of sucess.. this guy tells us he cannot enforce the law. In fact, it seems probably he never obeyed the law.

    Of course there are not people out there to pick the crops.. he doesn’t pay the money, and he has not encouraged any circumstance in his state that enables Americans to pick the crop. Instead, he advocates more of the same and don’t think anyone would pick the crops for bad wages: they would be leaving with their amnesty like a rocket.

    If he cannot honor his oath of office, get him out of office.
    If he cannot serve the people of Florida, get him out of office.
    If he does not feel remorse for his criminal employment past, you surely don’t need him in a State Office that counts.
    Get.. him.. out!

  5. Lisa Says:

    THe Senator has made it known that he uses e-verify so your argument that he uses illegals is false. Farmers don’t get to do “supply and demand” pricing- you learn that in basic economics. If you prefer to have an unsafe or unaffordable food source then keep pushing this on a state level folks! We need a guest worker program and we need it now before we no longer have anyone growing fruit, vegetables or producing milk.

  6. tojo Says:

    Denmark’s strict immigration laws have saved the country billions in benefits, a government report has claimed. The Integration Ministry report has now led to calls among right-wing populists to clamp down further on immigrants to increase the savings.

    The extremely strict laws have dramatically reduced the flow of people into Denmark in recent years, and many government figures are delighted with the outcome. “Now that we can see that it does matter who comes into the country, I have no scruples in further restricting those who one can suspect will be a burden on Denmark,” the center-right liberal integration minister, Søren Pind, told the Jyllands Posten newspaper.

  7. wigglwagon Says:

    “Farmers don’t get to do “supply and demand” pricing- you learn that in basic economics.”

    That is just more of the same old business propaganda. When part of the Florida crops freeze, prices skyrocket for the remainder of the supply. That is as basic as it gets!!!

  8. Elizabeth Says:

    This is for Tojo.

    Denmark’s percent of disposable income spent on food is over 20% (and that statistic was before they changed to their extremely strict immigration laws). We in America spend less than 11% of our disposable income on food.

    This means that American’s have more than 89% of our disposable income to spend on all kinds of things like sending our kids to college and living well.

    We need to avoid weakening the very infrastructure that makes feeding ourselves possible. And immigration is a very important part of that infrastructure. Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark said that farmers are a “thin green line standing between prosperity and disaster,” and that the line “must be held and not weakened any further if America stands a chance to combat the challenges ahead of us.”

    President Ronald Reagan once said, “One thing is certain in this hungry world: No regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters.”

    Americans won’t do this work for minimum wage or even $9 an hour.

    and in these economic times we cannot afford for our food prices to go through the roof.

    Thank goodness for people like Sen. Alexander. And thank goodness we have a representative form of government to look at these issues and assesses all the details that could affect us economically.

    We Americans take our food security for granted. Especially those of us who are secure enough to have a lot of time on our hands–those of us on this blogging board

  9. wigglwagon Says:

    This is for Elizabeth.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,…”

    That means that farmers are no more entitled to slave labor than is Bill Gates. That means that all workers are entitled to a living wage. When the packing house in Iowa was raided several years ago, I remember reading an op-ed about illegal alien workers by a columnist named Brooks. He said, “We need these people to clean motel rooms and process food.” He was morally wrong then and you are morally wrong now.

    Crying about “food security” does not make it acceptable or legal to oppress workers who process the food. I know it is hard to see down through the clouds from lofty posts but there are no trivial jobs. All workers deserve decent wages and BENEFITS.

  10. Employer Says:

    I’m sure @wigglwagon has never employed or paid anyone a wage or salary. Sounds like a union guy who’s just trying to get more from the people who produce and employ and generate taxes. If he had his way our economy would crash.

  11. Brittanicus Says:



    When our immigration laws are held in suspension by hesitant politicians because they don’t want to hurt ethnic feelings, then nothing is going to happen? IT IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A STALEMATE. Americans should realize if we initiate Zero tolerance at the border, at airline terminals with the immense power of the federal government, to fully funding without any exceptions. That the originally designed double strength border fence (2006 Secure Fence Act), complete with deployed US patrol and military personal, we can alter the course of having to support illegal immigrant invasion. At airline entry terminals, there must be stronger control that includes entry and exit inspections by immigration, so they can trace persons after their visa expires. Amazingly it makes sense, so it halts illegal newcomers reaching America, costing billions of dollars in support. ALL STATES THAT FAIL TO ENACT POLICING LAWS WILL ADDRESS A HUGE FINANCIAL PENALTY FROM THE BOMBARDMENT OF ECONOMIC REFUGEES, LOOKING FOR A NEW HOME AFTER FLEEING FROM LESS SYMPATHETIC STATES.

    If funding is established now for whatever is required to construct the double layer fence, including internal tools such as E-Verify, Secure Communities and 287 (G) police apprehension programs, we stand a good chance of stopping this travesty. IF WE SPEND BILLIONS NOW, IN THE LONG RUN WE WILL SAVE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS ANNUALLY. One would think the US Border Patrol would have full access to the border region, is far from the truth. They have to ask permission from the forestry commission, National Parks and Wilderness areas public managers. This is beyond belief to ask for a permit from the environmentalists to these massive areas, yet these Eco people say nothing and do little about the endless mounds of garbage littering these regions. These areas are extremely dangerous and standing signs indicate this along the highways. Because of inaccessibility of Agents to these areas are infested by criminal drug dealers and wagon trains of illegal aliens hauling dope.

    Every legal person and citizen should have a equal opportunity to work, no matter their color as long as their passage was through the Immigration paperwork and not the back way in? So as inserted in the 1986 Immigration Control and reform Act, we will have the means to inflict grave penalties on business that think they are above our laws. More than then five foreign nationals in your employ, you go to prison, simple as that. Much of this pain and suffering, loss of jobs taken by illegal aliens could be settled easily, if entry into America without papers was a felony as many other industrial nations have imposed. Any company or other entity that supports illegal immigration, has something to gain? For businesses of any category is more profit. For corporations is more money for their stockholders. For the majority of any store, factory and office or other establishment it’s about more money, more profit. With 10 million Americans and more out of work, any amnesty would be just plain insane.

    This foreign occupation hasn’t just happened; it’s taken thirty years at least. This has been caused by foolhardy evasiveness to the “Rule of law.” Once we have settled this exploitation once and for all, we can then decide on a uniform, non-fraudulent Guest worker program. But farmers and the agricultural section, must be forced to pay for their workers health care and education for their children of people working the fields; not taxpayers. There should be special exceptions for the highly skilled, who should have expedited passage through the immigration preference system. Alas, we have a right not admit individuals who will have to rely on government handouts, which incorporates pregnant Mothers. This has become a myopic game of States and the federal government alike, engineering welfare programs meant for birthright Americans sick, old and retired.

    FAIR estimates there are about 363,000 children are born to illegal aliens each year. It’s a must read the report in a Pdf file “Illegal Aliens and American Medicine.” (Just Google the whole text. )Anybody have any thoughts out there; have any conception of expenditures today? Foothold children to a large extent exhaust the social welfare programs countrywide. This is serious intent to legally enter America in near full term of pregnancy, so the birthright law comes into effect. The “Anchor Baby” is an unpleasant term, but it describes with morbid accuracy, defining an offspring of an illegal immigrant or other non-citizen, who under current legal interpretation becomes a United States citizen at birth; the law is ruthlessly used in apply for welfare programs.

    The female if allowed to remain, can get even more benefits, when they become pregnant again, and again and again. This insures cash payments, food stamps, free health care and federal Section 8 housing that shortly the whole extended family moves too. As our government tries to extract its way out of the 14 Trillion plus deficit, so should States that are carrying the extra burden if catering to illegal aliens. Thousands more people join the moderate conservatives in local and national TEA PARTY each day. Independents are swarming to the party, including lost Liberals and Democrats, even hard core Republicans. NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL HONEST TAXPAYERS TO CALL YOU’RE LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL POLITICIANS AND DEMAND—NOT REQUEST—THEY USE ZERO TOLERANCE IN ENFORCING OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS, ACCORDING TO THE 1986 SIMPSON/ MAZZOLI BILL? EVERY AMERICAN WHO PAYS EXORBITANT TAXES TO SUPPORT EVERY ILLEGAL FOREIGNERS, IS AT THE POINT OF NO RETURN.

    This nation is on the verge of losing its reputation, as the most powerful country in the world to Communist China. This has been forced upon us by unfair trade practices and the manipulation of currency by the Chinese. This unfair advantage has deteriorated our manufacturing base, the shutdown of thousands of companies that were making quality products, compared to the foreign countries that have imported cheap goods into this nation. The only people making huge profits are international mega corporations, which have taken US jobs offshore or across borders. The TEA PARTY will end this fallacy and tax US companies bringing cheap inferior goods. We are the greatest population of consumer buyers in the world and we have the ability to place tariffs on goods entering America, instead of this unbalanced trade policies that we have with NAFTA, CAFTA and China.

  12. wigglwagon Says:

    I am sure the Employer wishes he were right but the reality is that without well paid employees we do not have enough customers to thrive. You know what I mean, don’t you? It’s kind of like it is right now with 20-30 million legal residents looking for work. You have had your way for 30 years and it has gotten worse instead of better.

  13. Employer Says:

    I was correct, wigglwagon has neither employed anyone or contributed to our ecomy other than to demand concessions from the private sector and government. He and other unionists are anachronistic to our global economy and are a drag on the economic well being of Americans. He and his cohorts will assure that China, India, Brazil, Mexico et al will someday soon be producing most of our durable goods.

  14. wigglwagon Says:

    “Sounds like a union guy who’s just trying to get more from the people who produce and employ and generate taxes.”

    The people who produce and employ and generate taxes are not doing a very good job right now. You must not have been paying attention but we are in a mess. The so called ‘producers’ have been getting their way ever since Reagan. And no, you cannot realistically blame it on unions since they currently only represent about 6% of the workforce. Unions are definitely not a major factor in this failed economy.

    I do remember the 60′s and 70′s when all kinds of business from the corner filling station to GM were thriving. If I remember correctly, back then, nearly 40% of the workforce was represented by unions. How about that? It sure looks like increased union representation helps the economy. I guess those union employees spend those checks instead of stacking it up in the Caymans the way the exploitive employers do.

    Love isn’t the only thing that is blind. Greed is too!!!

  15. Walter Ruether Says:

    @wigglwagon, you are a laughable moron. Because of the unions’ dominance of the auto industry in the 60′s and 70′, the Japanese took control of the global auto industry. I was involved on the production and quality control sides at both GM and Ford, and the UAW’s Goal Number One was to create labor inefficiences. They would fight to reduce production quotas so that instead of one worker, two would need to be hired.

    So wigglwagon, kick back and relax and listen to your Joan Baez vinyl albums and watch the U.S. either thrive through capitalism or collapse from homegrown socialism. If Obama is re-elected and the dems control congress, expect the latter and you’ll have no private sector to criticize any more.

  16. wigglwagon Says:

    Walter Ruether, you guys can call me all the names you want but the fact remains that after 30 years of you guys getting it your way, we have 30 million legal residents looking for work.

  17. OBIWAN Says:

    JD needs to consider who voted him into office… it was most likely not Illegal Aliens.

    2 million Floridians need a job to subsist…

    2 million Illegals currently stole those jobs at a discount…

    We can afford to suspend welfare and require able bodied Floridians to do the jobs available to subsist.


    But, that 2 million will be trucking on down the road to other ‘sanctuaries’ if Florida but stiffens its resolve to Missouri standards!!

  18. OBIWAN Says:

    Let’s try Missouri’s SHOW ME on extending current Federal Statute on Immigration and Employment:

    1. 2008 passed English as official language with 90% vote. You deal in English, bring your own interpreter as needed!

    2. 2008 passed law requiring MO Highway Patrol and all LEO to verify immigration status of any person arrested and to inform federal authorities if the person is found to be in Missouri illegally.

    3. MO LEO receive specific training on enforcement of federal immigration laws (ICE 287(g).

    4. In MO Illegal Alienss do NOT have access to taxpayers
    benefits such as food stamps and health care through MO HealthNET.

    5. In 2009 MO mandated all colleges / universities shall NOT award financial aid to Illegal Aliens. All must annually certify to the MO DOHE they have NOT knowingly awarded financial aid to Illegal Aliens.

  19. CarrWatt Says:

    Tea Party Lady, not all Tea Party members embrace illegal aliens! Illegals are taking jobs so many Americans need and should not be receiving tax payer benefits. Why do you think they come here illegally, to take our welfare!

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