“Robust Debate” Expected on E-Verify

“Robust Debate” Expected on E-Verify

By Ana Ceballos, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis will prioritize a controversial proposal that would require Florida businesses to use a federal system to check the immigration status of new hires, but the leader of the Florida Senate said Tuesday he is “cautious” about passing such a plan.

“I expect there will be a robust debate, but the case is going to have to be made before it passes. It is not guaranteed,” Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, told reporters and editors gathered at an annual Associated Press pre-session event at the Capitol.

Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, and Sarasota Sen. Joe Gruters, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, recently filed legislation that would require private employers to use E-Verify, something DeSantis said is the “the best way to help deter illegal immigration.”

“It will end up saving taxpayers money, and obviously, it will be a deterrent for people coming here illegally,” DeSantis said.

The governor said he sees “momentum” in the Legislature to pass such a proposal, because lawmakers this spring approved a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, a bill that had gone nowhere in the past.

Poised to use his political clout again to crack down on illegal immigration, the governor said he will fully back the proposal during the 2020 legislative session, which starts in January. DeSantis will prioritize the bill as the presidential election kicks into full swing next year, with immigration expected to be a key issue.

The first indication of hurdles an E-Verify bill (SB 664) could face in the Senate will come with the number of committee assignments it gets. Galvano said it “will be properly referenced” to committees, a decision that is expected to be made next week, according to Katie Betta, a Senate spokeswoman.

Generally, the more committee assignments a bill receives, the harder it will be to pass.

Galvano acknowledged Tuesday the issue is “difficult” for the Republican-dominated Legislature, adding that he is “cautious about moving forward” with the Senate bill, which in its current form would apply to all Florida private employers — big and small.

In the past, proposals to mandate E-Verify, an electronic system managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, have gone nowhere and faced fierce opposition from agriculture, tourism and construction interests, some of whom are big Republican donors.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the state’s top elected Democrat, worries pushing for E-Verify will financially hurt small farmers because they do not have big operations to incorporate the federal electronic system.

“I am very concerned about the E-Verify bill and what that can potentially do to our smaller farmers in creating this additional paperwork and burden,” Fried said.

Under the Senate bill, employers would lose “all applicable licenses” if they do not register with the E-Verify system. Such licenses could include a franchise, charter, or “approval” to run a business in the state.

Last week, Lee told The News Service of Florida he is “open minded” about making changes to his bill, including exemptions for certain types of businesses.

“When it comes to small businesses, I think you are going to have a lot of empathy,” Lee, a former Senate president, said. “I am not sure what the rationale would be for (exempting) large businesses. It seems like they would be perfectly equipped to have this type of system.”

In the House, state Rep. Cord Byrd has said he intends to file the E-Verify bill. The Neptune Beach Republican championed the ban on sanctuary cities last session with Gruters.

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6 Responses to "“Robust Debate” Expected on E-Verify"

  1. Avatar
    Curtis   October 29, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    E-verify is a useless system. Ostensibly intended to check on the immigration status of applicant, its is really nothing more than another effort to centralize one more activity: hiring decisions. And with all the errors in these federal systems, why would we think this is any better.
    One would think all the libertarians out there would object to this overreach.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    TONY   October 30, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Finger Print and Take DNA of EVERY illegal coming across the Border and from those wanting to enter the US. Place that Info in a Database. Any Company hiring any illegal needs to be hit with a hefty Fine for EACH illegal Hired and possibly have the Bosses & Owners do some Jail Time.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Snidely Whiplash   October 30, 2019 at 10:04 am

    The implementation of E-Verify will still allow growers to hire non-citizen workers to bring in the substantial Florida harvest.
    E-Verify was set up and available to the States soon after the Twin Towers were knocked down in NYC.

    Why it was never implimented:

    I suspect lots of RINOs in Florida have benefited financially over the years for killing E-Verify.

    Real time example:
    Quite likely Senate President Galvano has that pained look on his face in the pic with this article, because his butt hurts, due to his wallet being way too fat with bribe money accepted to once again kill E-Verify.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      steve   October 30, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      When was that picture taken? Hint: before this legislation was filed…. Kind of squashes your example.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Snidely Whiplash   October 30, 2019 at 4:49 pm

        Good call on the picture Sir.
        I’m going to try to post more positive comments of our elected officials and assume everyone is acting in the best interests of their constituancy that elected them.
        I just dont know what could have happened with our local officials that made me so distrustful of all elected officials.
        Look for the new and exciting kinder and gentler Snidely soon!!!
        Maybe I will start wearing bow ties and vote Democrat too…who knows!!!

        Reply
  4. Avatar
    Maf   November 1, 2019 at 11:32 am

    I wish Sen. Galvano had exercised the same caution before he forcefully and quickly without much input, enacted a statute for toll roads.

    He needs much more public scrutiny before he jumps into projects.

    Reply

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