Business

E-Verify Gains Support; Will It Stand Alone?

Politics of immigration control sow confusion, intrigue at Capitol
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: January 28, 2011 3:55 AM

With Florida's only immigration-enforcement law blocked by former Attorney General Bill McCollum, state lawmakers are warming to the E-Verify employee-screening program.

A House Judiciary Committee workshop on Thursday rolled out the latest E-Verify statistics, which showed continual improvement in the system's accuracy.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office's 2010 year-end report found that E-Verify approved 97.4 percent of new hires nationally. The database rejected 2.3 percent and 0.3 percent were classified as a "mismatch" or error in documentation.

An independent Westat study from 2009 registered a mismatch rate of 0.7 percent.

Gov. Rick Scott, in one of his first executive orders, directed all agencies under his control to use E-Verify for new hires. Currently, 15 states require government employers to use E-Verify, and three states require all employers to use it.

Bills by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, and Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Port St. Lucie, would bring Florida businesses under the E-Verify umbrella.

But business groups are fighting back. Out West, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sued -- and lost -- at U.S. district and circuit courts, which upheld the legality of E-Verify laws.

While the Chamber's appeal is pending at the U.S. Supreme Court, the Associated Industries of Florida is battling E-Verify legislation here.

Newly hired AIF vice president for external affairs, Brewster Bevis, contended Thursday that E-Verify is "flawed" -- even as the mismatch (error) rate has dropped to a fraction of a percent. When asked about legal challenges by rejected applicants, Bevis admitted he was "not aware" of any.

Though the applicant-screening program is free, Bevis said E-Verify could impose a "financial hardship" on some small businesses because its Internet-based program requires a computer for access.

If legislators think resistance to E-Verify is stiff, they will encounter a hailstorm of opposition if they pursue Arizona-style enforcement initiatives.

Judiciary Chairman William Snyder, R-Stuart, who is running for sheriff in Martin County, is eager to showcase his tough-on-immigration bonafides. But one immigration-control group says a sweeping enforcement bill as envisioned by Snyder is set up to fail.

Adding broader Arizona-style criminal provisions would be a "bill killer," predicted Jack Oliver, legislative liaison for Floridians for Immigration Enforcement (FLIMEN).

Republican leaders have blocked 29 immigration-control bills in recent sessions, and Oliver suspects that the GOP hierarchy is angling to deep-six any such legislation again this year. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Cabinet-level Republican, has already spoken out against such efforts.

Despite campaign pledges to "get tough" on illegal aliens, Republican leaders -- who control both houses with supermajorities -- generally align with corporate interests that adamantly oppose tougher immigration laws as "bad for business."

Oliver said Snyder's gambit could allow GOP power brokers to play politics both ways: loading up a popular but controversial law-enforcement measure that is shot down by political and legal crossfire.

Republicans can then go back to constituents and say they tried, but were derailed by: a) the courts, b) Democrats and migrant-rights groups, c) business interests, d) all of the above.

Caulkett said the doomsday scenario is assured if GOP leaders follow through with plans to incorporate all immigration measures, including E-Verify, into a single omnibus committee bill.

Unbeknown to lawmakers, Republican Attorney General McCollum knocked out the state's only immigration-enforcement law -- Florida Statute 448.09.

In a Sept. 7, 2007, letter to Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen, McCollum advised that the Florida law was pre-empted by federal law.

Frustrated by the "runaround" his office received from federal immigration agencies, McKeithen was using the statute to arrest and charge employers who "knowingly" hired illegal aliens.

McKeithen told Sunshine State News that his department took down businesses by using FS 448.09.  "We had 10 or 12 cases -- some pled, some paid fines," he said.

Curiously, Florida Department of Law Enforcement general counsel Mike Ramage testified before a Senate committee on Monday that he could not find "a single" case that used the Florida statute.

Though McKeithen said Ramage's report was incorrect, the FDLE misinformation was repeated Thursday by Judiciary Committee staff director Randy Havlicak.

More than three years on, lingering confusion over the status of Florida's existing immigration law doesn't reflect well on efforts to write new laws.

"[448.09] is unconstitutional, antiquated and should be removed," said David Caulkett, vice president and founder of FLIMEN.

Harrell said she would author a bill to repeal the statute.

--

Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 801-5341.


Comments (10)

Amelia
8:24AM DEC 27TH 2011
Got it! Thanks a lot again for henlipg me out!
Francis
11:16PM FEB 4TH 2011
More than ever it makes sense to demand of our lawmakers to introduce--MANDATORY--E-Verify. If it was enforced nationwide there would be no excuse for every company to use it, big and small. No matter the size of the business, not matter who owns the company, every commercial enterprise should be held accountable if they are audited and found to have hired illegal workers. Every blog has shown that hundreds of thousands of companies, whether in construction, entertainment or the service industry or any other business have as many as 50 illegal aliens working. Yet countrywide millions of American citizens-legal residents are either trudging around looking for work or having to file for unemployment benefits. Any company that hires more than five illegal workers should be painfully fined, with no exemption from business asset confiscation and 6 months to five years in prison.

E-Verify would have been mandatory months ago, if Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) had not tried to table the enforcement tool, it could well have been a permanently installed as federal law required. E-Verify provide an automated link to federal databases to help employers determine employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security numbers. All employers must first complete an I-9 form for every new hire, within three business days of the date the employee starts work. Employers may not begin the I-9 process until after the individual is hired. As yet it's not perfected, but now the program has included photo identification methods, to correct the fraudulent use of deceased, military and infant Social Security numbers.

The GAO (General Accounting Office) describes a nationwide Driver’s License pilot program that is planned to get underway in 2011. Now is the time for all US citizens and green card holders demand there States legislators allow the federal government to cross reference the SSA and DHS databases with Department of Motor Vehicles. The open border groups and radical ethnocentric organizations have plotted against its use. The arch Liberals hidden within the ranks of moderate Democrats have used the media and left wing blogs to polarize it, but they are failing miserable as thousands more respectable business owners are access the simple process online.

With more than 16 million queries ran by more than 243,000 employers in fiscal year 2010, this much is certain: E-Verify is here to stay. Just as with any new innovation, eventually the E-Verify system will be have a success rate of identifying illegal workers an opening jobs for Americans and legal immigrants. For more information on the epidemic of the illegal settlement of illegal aliens, the massive 14th Amendment instant--baby--citizenship controversial law, the Dream Act and amnesty investigate the consequences at http://tinyurl.com/p6zx9 or the pages of Rense.com/ There are three parts to this series of articles at http://tinyurl.com/668tvvp, http://tinyurl.com/6aupx9w, http://tinyurl.com/62b95pe, illustrating the potential of irreversible overpopulation issues and other predicaments that is the welfare entitlements http://tinyurl.com/5rpbz99, http://tinyurl.com/5v5a7ug and http://tinyurl.com/4uc48th that discusses these major issues. Learn everything you need to know about the corruption and illegal immigration at http://tinyurl.com/c8y7re and http://tinyurl.com/zjsgl

No copyright ever. Copy & paste and distribute freely.
RepublicanConscience
10:08AM JAN 30TH 2011
Why can't E-Verify be used to update the voter registration list. If all the illegal voters were purged from the voter registration, there would be no Democrats in office.
Lauren
2:40PM FEB 4TH 2011
Great point! That's just it -- the Dem's all want the illegals to be given amnesty so they can vote Democrat and get more free stuff. It isn't free, and I'm sick of paying it! Everyone, please call your elected officials, especially STATE and demand (nicely) that they make this a priority during this legislative session which only lasts 60 days. E-Verify must be passed through the states as it is not going to happen on the federal level with the chief illegal and his crony Dem's in control. Find your elected officials on all levels, local, state and federal at: www.vote-smart.org Momentum is growing to pass E-Verify!!! Let's finally get it passed and get these illegals to self deport, opening jobs for AMERICANS and LEGAL residents and cutting our expenses for footing the bill for these illegal invaders.
pashley
9:05PM JAN 28TH 2011
We can't afford NOT to have a BS1070 type bill passed in the state of Florida.

What is the meaning of citizenship when the rewards to illegal aliens trump the penalty for their illegal presence and gives them financial advantages over citizens and those who came here legally?

From The Naples News, Collier County, Fl., edited for lenght,
(THIS IS JUST ONE COUNTY)
We have an estimated 800,000 to 950,000 illegal aliens living in Florida. In Collier County about 22 percent of all crime is attributed to illegal immigrants. Also, 40 percent of all felony warrants and 60 percent of murder arrest warrants in the county are for illegal immigrants. Some of that crime is committed by members of violent gangs, like MS-13 that hide out in agricultural populations. To house and feed illegal immigrants in the county jails it cost the county taxpayers $9,042,444 per year. That does not include the costs for judges, juries, prosecutors, public defenders and other court-related costs.
Other expenses involved with illegal immigrants cost county taxpayers tens of millions more per year. It comes from educational costs. There are thousands of students in our schools that do not speak English. The vast majority of them are illegal. There are people clogging up our emergency rooms.

People who violated our laws to get here are costing us money and a lot of it.
BM
3:07PM JAN 28TH 2011
I think those who speak out against E-Verify and the Arizona type bill are not concerned about the law and the citizens of Florida. They are concerned only about themselves and that includes Adam Putnam. If they think there will be a "hailstorm of opposition" if the Arizona law is pursued, just wait if it is not. There are over 954,000 illegal aliens in Florida. They are working in construction and other industries that citizens of this state want and can do those jobs. They are taking the money from the hands of citizens and the food from the mouths of children who are citizens of this state. The Chamber of Commerce should be prepared for what will follow if they continue to take the side of those who break our laws.

The only way to control illegal aliens is to fine employers heavily, and deport those who are caught in our state. Not only should Florida want to be business friendly we want to be "citizen friendly".
2:37PM JAN 28TH 2011
Between Scott wanting a new Commerce Dept. within yelling distance and E-Verify being elevated once again as a program that works while being vilified by the Chamber of Commerce, I can only say "Business as usual". A multi-millionaire spends his own fortune and others' from big business, though he has no experience with public service at all, gets elected, and who's service is he in. Business. And good old fashion "spend as little as possible for cheap labor" business, with a wink and a nod to real immigration reform (read as long as it doesn't affect our bottomline). You have to wonder, did he pick the office for the new Commerce Dept. or did they?

E-Verify is, at worst, a minor inconvenience to the business community, except when illegal immigrants are what your profits are built on. At best, we will have a national basis for rational immigration reform. It is the one big thing both parties have in common, yet they are running around the edges of the fire stomping down the little stuff while the middle roars for attention.

I can see Jeb written all over this. Last week he says the GOP should be focusing on the Hispanic vote for 2012, make them happy with thier "moral" issues and this week shoveling E-Verify under the rug and anti-immigration reform big business over the top. Can't **ss off the one large class of voters left who haven't been sold on the great morals of the GOP and, hopefully, are ignorant and pliable enough not to realize that Business as usual is the first priority.

So is this Rick Scott's way to hit his 700,000 goal? Continue Florida's image as a "paid for sunshine state" where companies with high labor costs can stop by before they send them overseas for even cheaper labor? We deserve better.
joelwisch2
8:52AM JAN 28TH 2011
The legacy of the corruption of hiring illegal aliens is deep and serious. Further, the people who support the illegal aliens have a lot of money going for them. Mexico supports the illegal aliens, the Catholic Church supports migrant workers over national law(the google would be Catholic Church Migration), and these are two web sites that look at the backers and composition of La Raza's ruling body.

Corporate Board of Advisors for La Raza
http://www.theamericanresistance.com/race_industry/laraza_info.html

Contributors to The National Council of The Race
http://www.theamericanresistance.com/race_industry/laraza_contributors.html

And all of these people continue to warn the American People: if you exclude illegal aliens as the law tells us to do, they will fight us in court.
LDouglas
8:01AM JAN 28TH 2011
"Though the applicant-screening program is free, Bevis said E-Verify could impose a "financial hardship" on some small businesses because its Internet-based program requires a computer for access."

Is that guy for real? A small business in this day and age without computer access? Really? That's the best argument he could come up with against E-verify?

In that case, I don't see any reason a stand alone E-verify bill wouldn't pass. Unless, the Republican leadership is just playing games with us on this.
Lauren
2:43PM FEB 4TH 2011
There is no hardship at using E-Verify. It's pretty simple, quick and efficient. Enter the social security number and identification and see if it matches. It is only used AFTER a person is hired, so all the pro illegal crowd can can the argument that it's "discriminatory." As a victim of identity theft, it angers me that more has not been done to crack down on the illegals who steal people's identities and make them up. E-VERIFY NOW!

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