TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Senate today voted to pass Senate Bill 664, which would penalize employers who do not use the error-prone E-Verify program for all newly hired employees, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
SB 664 imposes unacceptable burdens on Florida workers and businesses by forcing citizens and legal residents to get a permission slip from the federal government to work. Mandatory use of E-Verify would result in thousands of authorized workers being denied the ability to work without a meaningful avenue to seek redress. It also opens the door to discrimination, and raises privacy and security concerns.
The House version of this bill, HB 1265, is poised to be heard and voted on by the full House. The passage of this bill in the Senate brings this bill one step closer to being state law, despite consistent opposition from businesses, nonprofits and faith groups.
Kara Gross, legislative director of the ACLU of Florida, responded to today’s hearing with the following:
“SB 664 harms Florida’s businesses, workers, and overall economy. It unnecessarily burdens employers and hardworking Floridians. This is why it has received vehement opposition by businesses, nonprofit organizations, employers, employees, Republicans, Democrats, and faith leaders of all faiths.
“E-Verify errors have been caused by typos, name changes due to marriage, and even simply placing additional spaces after someone’s name. It places an undue burden on authorized workers to prove that the E-Verify system was inaccurate and that they are, in fact, eligible to work. It creates a whole new level of intrusive government oversight into Florida’s private businesses by allowing any state agency to request and review any private employer’s files and it mandates a bureaucratic ‘prove yourself to work’ system that will harm Florida’s economy and threaten hardworking Floridians.
“We urge House representatives to oppose this bill and prevent our state employers from being forced to participate in one of the largest government surveillance programs in the Country.
“Floridians value privacy protections and hard work – we should not need to sacrifice one for the other.”