Governor DeSantis throws weight behind E-Verify bill

Florida Governor Republicans_1535501264245

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign event at Versailles restaurant, Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Governor Ron DeSantis wants to crack down on illegal immigration by requiring all employers in the state to check the immigration status of potential employees through the Federal E-Verify system.

The move comes after DeSantis pushed through a ban on sanctuary cities earlier this year.

“I think the best way to help deter illegal immigration is to pursue E-Verify,” said DeSantis.

Legislation filed for the 2020 session would require all employers use E-Verify to check every potential employee or else have their licenses suspended or even revoked.

Samantha Padgett with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association worries about mistakes.

“What if it comes back and it gives you a false positive or false negative and you’re still subject to penalties?” said Padgett.

Another opponent of E-Verify is the Ag industry.

Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried said it would impose an undue burden.

“So I’m very concerned about the E-Verify bill and what that could potentially do to our smaller farmers in creating these additional paperwork and burden on their everyday concerns,” said Fried.

We reached out to two farmers near the state Capitol.

Both declined an interview fearing if they spoke out against E-Verify it would make their companies targets for homeland security.

E-Verify’s potential impacts to the workforce are such a concern, even Republican Senate President Bill Galvano said its passage is not guaranteed.

“I expect that there will be a robust debate, but the case is going to have to be made before it passes,” said Galvano.

There are currently only eight states that require all employees to be screened through E-Verify and this isn’t the first year the E-verify debate has come up in Florida.

The bill has been filed as far back as 2010.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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