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Governor Proposes Legislation to Require All Florida Employers to Use E-Verify

Governor's Facebook page

Florida - Thursday February 23, 2023: Governor DeSantis is proposing legislation that would require Florida employers to use E-Verify to ensure they're hiring people who have a legal right to work in the U.S.

"We're working ... with the Legislature to require all employers in Florida to use E-verify to determine employment eligibility," said the Governor at a news conference in Jacksonville Thursday.

E-Verify is a United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. No federal law mandates the nationwide use of E-Verify, but the Governor wants to make it mandatory for all employers in Florida.

“With this legislation, Florida is continuing to crack down on the smuggling of illegal aliens, stopping municipalities from issuing ID cards to people here illegally, and ensuring that employers are hiring American citizens or those here legally,” said DeSantis.

The Governor proposed similar legislation soon after he took office but it was met with stiff resistance from the agriculture and hospitality industries. The result was compromise legislation that the Governor Thursday called "inadequate" because it currently applies only to public employees and state contractors.

This new proposal would also increase penalties for human smuggling, strengthening statutes for the detention of illegal aliens, enhancing penalties for document falsification, and prohibit the issuance by local governments of ID cards to people who are not lawfully in the country.

Its the latest of a number of bills that the Governor will be submitting to the Florida Legislature where Republicans hold a super majority. The regular Legislative Session begins on March 7.

The legislation also invalidates all out-of-state licenses to unauthorized aliens, requires those registering to vote to affirm they are United States citizens and legal residents of Florida, prevents unauthorized immigrants from being admitted to practice law, and eliminates out-of-state tuition fee waivers for undocumented immigrant students.

Additionally, the proposal requires hospitals to collect data on the immigration status of patients and the costs to provide care to illegal aliens and regularly report the data to the Governor and Legislature. As directed by Executive Order 21-223, this data was collected and during the 2021-22 Fiscal Year health care costs for illegal aliens in Florida was nearly $340 million and taxpayers were on the hook for more than two-thirds of this cost. More information on this data can be found here.

The increased penalties for human smuggling follow the recommendations of the grand jury impaneled by the Florida Supreme Court at Governor DeSantis’ request and will:

• Make it a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and five years of probation, to knowingly transport, conceal, or harbor an illegal alien within or into the state;
• Make it a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000, if the illegal alien is younger than 18 years old; and
• Specify that a person commits a separate offense for each individual transported, concealed, or harbored and allow transported individuals to be detained by law enforcement as material witnesses.

To view the recommendations of the statewide grand jury, click here.