Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) is breaking with Florida Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum (R) over a proposed new immigration law.
Diaz-Balart has endorsed McCollum in the Republican primary for governor and is a member of the campaign's Hispanic leadership team. But in a statement to The Hill, Diaz-Balart said he is not backing the candidate's push for an Arizona-style immigration law in Florida.
"I believe that Bill McCollum is best positioned to lead the state of Florida as governor and I continue to support his candidacy, however, I disagree with his immigration proposal and do not believe it is the solution to our country's broken immigration system," Diaz-Balart said in a statement.
McCollum, who is locked in a tight primary with self-funder Rick Scott (R), is pushing for a law that would mandate immigrants carry paperwork proving their legal status. McCollum said the proposal goes even further than Arizona's recently enacted immigration law by allowing judges to take legal status into account when setting bond.
Diaz-Balart's brother and fellow Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) also told the Hill he is against McCollum's proposal. Lincoln Diaz-Balart is another McCollum supporter and member of his Hispanic leadership team.
Lincoln Diaz-Balart announced his retirement this past February. His brother has decided to vacate his 25th District congressional seat and plans to run in Lincoln's district instead in 2010.
Mario Diaz-Balart had a tough race in 2008, and his brother's district is more heavily Republican.