Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed into law a bill that will force all state entities and some private companies to use an electronic system known as E-Verify to check the immigration status of a worker before hiring.
Republican DeSantis signed the bill into his office with its supporters, Republican state legislators Tom Lee and Cord Byrd, Senator and Representative, respectively.
“This new law is another attack by DeSantis on immigrant families in Florida, which comes one year after the infamous SB 168 ‘show me your papers,'” Thomas Kennedy, Florida state coordinator for the pro-immigrant organization United We Dream, said in a statement.
The Florida Senate had approved in early March a bill that would force companies to verify that their employees are not undocumented and would allow the state to randomly audit companies that choose not to use the federal program known as E-Verify.
SB 664, which has now become law, found the support of 22 senators and the rejection of 18.
SB 664 requires businesses to use E-Verify or keep a three-year record of the documents used by job applicants when completing an eligibility form.
The measure was a campaign pledge by Governor DeSantis, who is aligned with President Donald Trump’s strong immigration policies.
In addition to pro-immigrant organizations, E-Verify is opposed by sectors that move the economy in the tourist “Sunshine State”.
A study released in February indicated that E-Verify could cut corporate profits by $10.66 billion and state and local tax revenues by $1.25 billion.
According to activist Kennedy, “Governor Ron DeSantis continues to do (Donald) Trump’s dirty work in Florida by signing the E-Verify bill.
“This is nothing but bait for Trump’s racist and anti-immigrant base. Instead of focusing on the more than 150,000 people in Florida who have tested positive for COVID-19, DeSantis wants to make life more difficult for immigrants in Florida,” he added.
United We Dream lamented that “this law will limit the ability of thousands of Floridians to make a living to support themselves and their families.
The organization strongly condemned this action by DeSantis and pledged to “continue to fight for the permanent protection of all immigrants” and “dismantle the detention and deportation machine that disproportionately impacts people of color.