Senate leader files immigration amendment, no E-Verifyby Dara Kam | May 3rd, 2011
Senate budget chief-turned-immigration reformer JD Alexander filed a strike-all amendment this morning that would require work boards to check the immigration status of applicants but lacks any requirement that businesses use the federal E-Verify system to ensure hirees are in the country legally.
Alexander, a Republican farmer from Lake Wales, crafted the amendment to essentially leave the agricultural community out of the reforms because the vast majority of farm workers do not use the work centers to seek jobs.
The absence of the E-Verify requirement is a victory for the business community but puts the two chambers at odds: The House plan (HB 7089) includes E-Verify and the ability for law enforcement to request documentation of immigration status during criminal investigations.
In contrast, Alexander’s amendment, expected to be offered today, would require law enforcement officials to “make a reasonable effort” to ascertain immigration status after someone has been arrested.
Immigration advocates, who’ve thronged the Capitol for months and held daily press conferences pleading with lawmakers to
drop the reforms, had pushed for post-conviction rather than post-arrest checks of immigration. They contend the post-arrest component is problematic because driving without a drivers license, which some undocumented immigrants do, is a vehicle for racial profiling.