Florida's attorney general and a group of state lawmakers moved Wednesday to push the Sunshine State into the forefront of the national illegal immigration debate with a bill modeled after Arizona's controversial law -- only, they claim, with a better shot of withstanding a court challenge.
State Attorney General Bill McCollum, following the lead of Virginia's top prosecutor, also issued an opinion saying state law enforcement already have the right to ask about immigration status in the course of their duties.
"This legislation will provide new enforcement tools for protecting our citizens and will help our state fight the ongoing problems created by illegal immigration," McCollum, a Republican, said in a written statement. "Florida will not be a sanctuary state for illegal aliens."
McCollum helped write the legislation, though Florida lawmakers will be responsible for pushing it in the legislature.