Thompson To Announce Illegal Immigration Proposal In Florida

Tuesday, October 23rd 2007, 8:47 am
By: News On 6

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) _ Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson on Tuesday plans to announce an immigration policy that will include stripping federal grant money from cities and states that don't report illegal immigrants.

Thompson chose Collier County, which has a large farmworker population, for his announcement and plans to meet with the county's sheriff, Don Hunter, before announcing details of his border security and immigration enforcement proposal.

A major part of the plan will be to reduce the number of illegal immigrants by increasing enforcement of existing law. Sanctuary cities, where city employees are not required to report illegal immigrants to federal authorities, would lose discretionary federal grants, said a campaign source who didn't want to be named because the plan hasn't been announced.

Thompson, a former Tennessee senator, will also call for stronger laws to force employers to verify that workers aren't illegal immigrants, a more rigorous system to track who is coming in and out of the country and a plan to increase prosecution of ``coyotes,'' smugglers who bring illegal immigrants across the Mexican border, the source said. He will also talk about border security.

At a campaign stop in Georgia last week, Thompson accused rivals Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani of being soft on illegal immigration when Romney was Massachusetts' governor and Giuliani was New York's mayor.

Romney and Giuliani have also called for tougher immigration enforcement and opposed an immigration bill that failed earlier this year which would have provided a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. Arizona Sen. John McCain supported the legislation.

Collier County has vast tomato farms that hire thousands of immigrants. Last year it was part of a two-county sweep with 163 illegal immigrants arrested in one weekend. The campaign plans to cite figures that 22 percent of the county's crime is committed by illegal immigrants and that 40 percent of county's arrest warrants are for illegal immigrants.