For Senate bid, Scott needs Trump to put migrant raids on ice

Posted January 12, 2018 1:54 p.m. EST

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Gov. Rick Scott needs to ask for one of those "Florida exemptions" from the nationally conducted immigration raids on 7-Elevens.

This week, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made pre-dawn raids on 7-Eleven convenience stores in 17 states to look for undocumented immigrant workers. Of the nearly 100 stores raided, five of them were in Florida, including one in Palm Beach County.

Usually you go to 7-Eleven looking for ice. But now, it's ICE looking for 7-Eleven.

We can't have this in Florida. We're very proud of our 7-Eleven jobs, especially Gov. Scott.

When 7-Eleven announced it was opening 80 stores in Jacksonville in 2012, Gov. Scott presided over a free-Slurpee ceremony complete with a military color guard -- as if the availability of roller taquitos was a matter of national security.

"The return of 7-Eleven to Jacksonville shows that Florida is becoming known as the best place for business to grow and expand," he said at the time.

This doesn't square with this week's images of ICE agents singling out this Florida success story as a potential haven for desperate illegal labor willing to work the graveyard shift for close-to-rock-bottom wages.

So we need a Florida exemption. Apparently, Scott is good at this. He just did it with offshore oil drilling.

President Donald Trump, Scott's buddy in the White House, announced a vast expansion of oil drilling in America, and Scott persuaded the president in a matter of days to revise his definition of America to exclude Florida.

Now, politicians from New Jersey to California are asking why they too can't get a state exemption on oil drilling.

The answer: Too bad. Scott thought of it first.

And he's laying the groundwork for a run at the U.S. Senate later this year, which requires deflecting from a deplorable record of protecting Florida's environment during his eight years as governor.

A short list of grievances include: all but wiping out the Florida Forever land conservation program, cutting environmental pollution enforcement cases under the state's Department of Environmental Protection by 75 percent, slashing the budgets of the state's water management districts and filling their boards with developers, and repealing the law calling for mandatory inspections of algae-bloom-contributing leaky septic tanks.

Come to think of it, he has also been for oil drilling off Florida's coast.

That was back in 2010, when former President Barack Obama had decided to protect Florida's waters from oil exploration. Scott protested.

"Let's figure out how we can do it safely because we cannot afford to mess up our beaches or our economy," Scott said at the time. "But I believe (with) the ingenuity of Americans, we will come up with a way to do that."

But he's not talking about ingenuity now. No, he is auditioning for the role of environmental evangelist. At least until November.

"My top priority is to ensure that Florida's natural resources are protected, which is why I proposed $1.7 billion for the environment in this year's budget," Scott said in a statement.

And Trump helped him out by keeping oil drilling away from Florida.

Now, Trump needs to help Scott again, this time by calling up Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, to get her to call off any more ICE raids in Florida's 7-Elevens.

"Kirstjen, this is Donald Trump ... Yes, thank you. I am a stable genius. That's what I'm hearing ...

"The reason I'm calling is you have to tell ICE they can't raid any more 7-Elevens in Florida ... That's right. Just not in Florida.

"It's Rick Scott again. He has apparently been carrying on about how successful he is at getting people to work at 7-Elevens. I know. Can you believe it? He's not like a smart person.

"But I'm trying to get him elected ... Yes, you can go after the Kwik Stops. Just not the 7-Elevens.

"Good. Nice talking to you, Katie. Kathryn. Kristen."

Frank Cerabino writes for The Palm Beach Post. Email: fcerabino(at)pbpost.com.

Story Filed By Cox Newspapers

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