Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 6: Arizona Can Take Ideas From Florida

By Sylvia Gurinsky

The influx of illegal immigrants and illegal drugs results in a high crime and murder rate and the deaths of law enforcement officials.

That's not Arizona, 2010. That's Florida, specifically South Florida, during the 1980s.

Then, elected officials from Florida and its cities agonized over what to do. What they did not do was anything knee-jerk. (It helped that Florida's governors during that period included Bob Graham, a Democrat, and Bob Martinez, a moderate Republican, and that the Florida Legislature was in control of Democratic hands that were not reactionary.)

The state worked with then-Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush on solutions that included increased law enforcement. Local governments and courts worked on improved programs both for processing immigrants and for rehabilitating those addicted to drugs.

That's the strategy Arizona should pursue - working with the federal government - instead of continuing with its new profiling law that will only lead to a fight with the Feds.

The answer to Arizona's future lies in Florida's past.

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