Florida house speaker Richard Corcoran promises to crack down on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities in a political ad viewed by some as “a little intense.”
Florida Gulf Coast University professor Peter Bergerson believes the ad is an effective way for Corcoran to fire up his base as he weighs a run for governor.
“Pretty much a white audience,” Bergerson said. “That’s the base he wishes to carve out. I think he sees that as his path to the nomination and eventually to be governor of Florida.”
The ad tells a story of 32-year-old Kate Steinle who was allegedly killed in 2015 by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco. A jury later acquitted the man of murder.
“He’s playing on fears that people have about crime, gun control, sanctuary cities, immigration … illegal immigration,” Bergerson said.
Bergerson explained there is no data to suggest illegal immigrants are more violent than U.S. citizens.
Many Southwest Florida residents are split on the issue, some saying more immigration enforcement is necessary.
“Maybe background checks or something else,” FGCU student Courtney Clark said.
Others are worried that forcing cities to report illegal immigrants to federal immigration authorities could create dangerous precedent.
“Me being of Hispanic descent, I already receive a lot of racism, a lot of discrimination. Things like these just make my life worse,” FGCU student Bryan Oliva-Infante said.
A sanctuary city ban passed the Florida house last month, but it appears the measure won’t make it through the senate. A Federal judge struck down a similar bill in Texas as unconstitutional last year.