E-Verify Plan Could Include Agriculture Industry

Dan Industry News Release, Labor and Immigration

Agriculture Workers Picking Lettuce in Salinas valley California

(NSF) — A Senate proposal that would require Florida employers to do immigration checks on new hires is getting another makeover ahead of its second committee hearing on Tuesday. Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican sponsoring an E-Verify bill (SB 664), filed an amendment on Monday that would expand a proposed requirement for private businesses to use E-Verify, a federal electronic system that verifies the legal eligibility of new workers. The amendment would change part of the bill to undo an exemption that would be provided to the agriculture industry.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the carve-out for the agriculture industry last week at the request of Chairman David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, Simmons said the exemption was an effort to “create something between the two extremes.”

Attempts to require private employers to use E-Verify have failed to pass the Republican-dominated Legislature in past years, partly due to the fierce opposition from employers in the agriculture, tourism and construction industries, some of whom are major GOP donors. But the issue is seeing momentum this session as Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican Party of Florida have made it a top priority.

Getting rid of the agriculture exemption would align the proposal with the governor’s position. DeSantis has made clear he wants to require all public and private employers to use E-Verify and does not support exemptions. The Republican Party of Florida, led by Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, has passed a resolution supporting the governor’s position.

Lee’s newly filed amendment will be considered Tuesday by the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee, which is chaired by Gruters.

Source: News Service of Florida