Florida and The Paradox of State Passed Immigration Laws

Florida is one of the states that is thinking of passing an Arizona like anti-immigration bill, it is also a state that is revealing extreme anxiety about utilizing E-Verify a Department of Homeland Security program that is used to audit employers who may be using undocumented immigrants.

During Florida Governor Rick Scott's run for office last year he pledged to pass more state based immigration laws. Sure enough upon taking office he signed an executive order requiring  that the state verify all new hires eligibility to work in the United States using E-Verify. Today, even those who supported the Governor's executive order are finding mandatory use of E-Verify untenable.  Travis Pillow of the Florida Independent has more here:

"On Monday, during the first of three informational meetings on immigration, state senators — including some who support the use of the program, which is offered to employers by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security — expressed frustration with some of the system’s limitations. State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, wanted to know why it couldn’t detect some forms of identity theft — one of E-Verify’s key weaknesses.

If five people are using the same false name and Social Security number, he pointed out, the federal government could collect revenue on all of them, but would only wind up making Social Security payments to one of them."

E-Verify tends to identify people incorrectly, which is to say it identifies people who are citizens as not being citizens and sometimes fails to identify identity theft among those in the country illegally. However it is still a tool which states can use to identify who is eligible for employment in their states legally.

This is not an endorsement of E-Verify per se, but certainly working with DHS to reform this process makes more sense than say, trying to amend the 14th amendment...

The real paradox about States clamoring to pass their own immigrations laws is that when states are required to utilize existing federal immigration programs to crack down on employers there is almost always a push back from the business community.  Florida is no different, to wit:

“I think it’s a bogus deal,” responded Alan Hays, R-Umatilla. “Tell me what good is the thing, anyhow?” he added. “If I’ve got to hire the man before I can use your system, then your system does no good to tell me whether I should hire him or not. Your system just tells me whether I should fire him or not.”

This is a valid argument against the program, but instead of trying to find a way to change the 14th Amendment, shouldn’t state legislators be trying to find a better way to figure out who is working in their local businesses?