Senate immigration update: E-Verify, biz fines, boycotts now in the mixby Dara Kam | May 3rd, 2011
Senate Rule Chairman John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, filed an amendment to the immigration bill (SB 2040) that would fine businesses up to $1,500 for each unauthorized worker hired after July 1, 2012.
Thrasher’s amendment would not force business owners to use the federal E-Verify system – which could cost up to $60 per hiree for small businesses – but would fine those who hire undocumented workers $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second and $1,500 after that.
Thrasher’s amendment also would force state agencies to use E-Verify before hiring new employees, something Gov. Rick Scott has done for current state workers.
Meanwhile, national groups are threatening to boycott Florida as they did Arizona if lawmakers approve legislation they deem would be a vehicle for racial profiling. The legislature’s Hispanic caucus also came out in opposition to the reforms today.
Left-leaning organizers, moveon.org, held a telephone conference this morning warning they are mobilizing boycotts and voter registration drives. They said the Arizona boycotts cost that state hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Our members in Florida and around the country are watching the legislature very closely today,” said Moveon.org executive director Justin Ruben. “Our members will take their business and their tourism dollars elsewhere.”
The Senate is slated to take up Senate budget chief JD Alexander’s proposed immigration reform today as Friday’s end to the legislative session approaches. Alexander, a farmer, filed a proposal that would essentially exempt the agricultural industry from the reforms but includes a variety of other measures that would make it easier to deport criminals who are in the country illegally after their sentences are complete. They could also serve reduced sentences if they agree not to fight deportation.
The House’s version, sponsored by Stuart Republican William Snyder, goes much farther and would allow law enforcement officials to request documentation if the individual is the subject of a criminal investigation. Snyder’s proposal (HB 7089) would also require that all businesses use E-Verify.