Florida GOP leaders back away from plans for immigration reform

— Can Florida legislators turn their backs on immigration reform?

That is the question hovering over Republicans this week after Rick Perry’s performance in last week’s presidential debate and the results of the Florida straw poll, which show that being soft on the issue can imperil Republicans strapped to a primary.

Florida’s Tea Party activists say they will accept nothing short of requiring every employer to check the immigration status of their workers through the federal E-verify program in January when legislators convene in regular session. But armed with the support of Florida’s powerful agriculture and business groups, the same legislative leaders who last year promised Arizona-style immigration reform are now barely offering tentative support for it.

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