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Fact check: Would E-Verify have prevented 9/11?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 by Dara Kam

An Arizona-style immigration law is off the table in Florida, and any immigration overhaul is likely doomed, GOP lawmakers said yesterday after the Senate killed a watered-down E-Verify amendment.

During debate on the amendment, its sponsor John Thrasher argued that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks may have been avoided had the federal verification system been in effect at the time.

“I want to remind everyone in here that 10 of the 19 terrorists who attacked our country, directed by Osama bin Laden in doing that, lived in the state of Florida. I wish we would have had the E-Verify system … we might have saved the lives of 3,000 Americans,” Thrasher, a St. Petersburg Republican and one-time House speaker who recently served as the Republican Party of Florida chairman.

Thrasher prefaced his comments by asserting he wasn’t being “overly dramatic” but was he?

The St. Petersburg Times PolitiFact gave Thrasher’s assertion a “Pants on Fire” rating:

“Hijackers did live in Florida and obtain Florida driver’s licenses. But in order to potentially be flagged by the E-Verify system, they would have had to work in the state. There is no record that any of them ever tried to get jobs here. And as such, E-Verify — had it been used by Florida employers as Thrasher wanted — wouldn’t have found them or stopped their plotting. We rate this claim Pants on Fire!”

Aronberg questions Florida’s disaster readiness

Monday, January 11th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Sen. Dave Aronberg is questioning the state’s emergency readiness given the recent ouster of emergency management chief Ruben Almaguer.

Senate Military Affairs and Domestic Security Committee Chairman Aronberg, D-Greenacres, sent Almaguer’s replacement David Halstead a bevy of questions this morning about Florida’s ability to respond to a terrorist threat like the recently thwarted Christmas Day bomber airplane attack in Michigan.

Gov. Charlie Crist forced Almaguer to resign from his position as interim director of the Division of Emergency Management last week amid accusations of nepotism, misspending and sexism.

Almaguer, brought in as deputy chief to former DEM head Craig Fugate by Gov. Jeb Bush, last Monday refused to step down then resigned after meeting with Crist’s chief of staff Shane Strum and deputy chief Kathy Mears.

Almaguer says he was forced out by his replacement, Halstead, and that he has a “clean conscience.”

Crist refused to look into Almaguer’s alleged wrongdoing despite a plea from the ousted department official for an investigation.

Among the questions Aronberg wants answered:

Who’s responsible for audits of the division, which is located under the Department of Community Affairs?

Florida politicians weigh in on Obama’s security speech

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican running for U.S. Senate:
“The attempted terror attack on Christmas Day was a somber reminder that we are a nation still at war. The facts surrounding the failed bombing plot are alarming. It is troubling to hear that this attempt was not stopped long before the plan was enacted.
“As more details emerge on who knew what and when, it is important that all facets of our homeland security redouble their efforts to protect the American people as we fight the ongoing war on terror.

“While I appreciate that a review has been conducted, it is much more important that our entire intelligence community proactively works to make sure this type of attempt doesn’t happen again.”

Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican running for governor:
“I am thankful President Obama is fully engaged on national security issues and the business of keeping Americans safe. Our approach must not be reactionary and it must not be passive. We must successfully execute a coordinated and proactive intelligence and counter-terrorism strategy to ensure the safety of our citizens. (more…)

McCollum in Boca: tough on terror, “skeptic” on drilling

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 by George Bennett

BOCA RATON — In his first campaign appearance in Palm Beach County since entering the 2010 race for governor, Attorney General Bill McCollum reminded a Jewish audience of his anti-terrorism credentials, called for diversifying the state’s economy and said he’s “very skeptical” of drilling for oil near Florida’s coast.

mccollum_bio1McCollum, who entered the GOP primary for governor last month after Gov. Charlie Crist announced he’s running for U.S. Senate, spoke to a Republican Jewish Coalition audience of about 60.

He was introduced by state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Boca Raton, who hailed McCollum for forming a task force on terrorism when he was a member of Congress in the 1990s.

(more…)

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