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Gov. DeSantis backs bill to make E-Verify mandatory for employers

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(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to crack down on illegal immigration by requiring all employers in the state to check the immigration status of potential hires through the federal E-Verify system.

The move comes after DeSantis pushed through a ban on so-called 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 make it mandatory for all employers use E-Verify to check every potential employee, or else their licenses could be suspended or even revoked.

Sammantha 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?" wondered Padgett.

Another opponent of E-Verify is the agricultural industry. 

State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said it would impose an unfair burden on farmers.

"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.

And 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 E-Verify has come up in Florida. The bill has been filed as far back as 2010.