Florida in brief

News of note

By Times Staff
Published July 22, 2006

Gallagher: Let local police arrest illegal immigrants

PENSACOLA - State and local police should be able to arrest illegal immigrants and government agencies and contractors should be barred from hiring them, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher said Friday.

Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, unveiled those and other immigration proposals after touring Pensacola's port. He also said he would create a state office of security and preparedness if elected.

"Illegal immigration threatens public safety. ... While we must approach the issue of illegal immigration with compassion, Florida government must do its part to secure our borders and protect the public," Gallagher said.

Florida law enforcement officers cannot now make immigration arrests without a warrant. Gallagher said the law should be changed to let them make arrests for violations as they come across them.

He said there should be a law requiring public employers and contractors to participate in a federal program that verifies the immigration status of all job applicants.

Gallagher and Attorney General Charlie Crist are seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Crist's campaign declined to comment.

Two girls die in fire that severely burns their mother

BELLEVIEW - Two girls died and their mother was severely burned Friday when a fire destroyed their mobile home, officials said.

Kayana Carr, 5, and Destiny Gordon, 6, died, Marion County sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Livoti said. Their mother, Brenda Miller, 39, was admitted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns to her arms, chest and face.

A brother, Durrell Miller, 12, was treated at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala and released.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. Officials said the mobile home lacked a smoke alarm.

Cuban smuggling suspects charged with manslaughter

MIAMI - Three men accused of organizing a migrant smuggling trip from Cuba in which a woman died were charged Friday with manslaughter and other offenses in a 68-count grand jury indictment.

The indictment was returned the day after 28 Cubans who were on the July 8 voyage were brought ashore as witnesses in the case. They will be allowed to stay in the United States.

The charges against each man include one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Anai Machado Gonzalez, 24, who hit her head when the speedboat tried to ram a Coast Guard vessel.

Woman gets probation for having skull in luggage

FORT LAUDERDALE - A woman was sentenced in federal court Friday to two years' probation and fined $1,000 for carrying a human skull in her luggage into the United States.

Myrlene Severe, 30, a permanent U.S. resident from Haiti, practices voodoo and said she brought the skull on the plane in February because she believed it would provide protection.