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Florida's governor seeking stiffer immigration laws

If Florida Governor Rick Scott has his way, immigration laws throughout the state will become stricter. The governor is seeking to push an immigration bill that would affect both employers and state law enforcement.

Should the governor's goals be attained, employers throughout Miami and the rest of the state will have to use the E-Verify program to confirm the immigration status of each employee. The federal online program compares information provided by the employee with records maintained by the government to confirm that the employee is in the U.S. legally. If the information does not match, the employee has a short amount of time to address the matter and if necessary correct the mistake. During that time the employee can continue to work.

The governor showed how serious he is about the matter by signing an executive order shortly after taking office that made it necessary for all state agencies or entities doing business with Florida state agencies utilize the e-Verify program to insure all employees are in the country legally.

Another piece of the desired legislation would make it a requirement that law enforcement investigate the status of anyone involved in a criminal investigation. Last year a lesser bill passed that extended the requirement to people actually arrested for a crime rather than just being investigated.

A bill containing similar provisions to the two the governor would like to implement was introduced last year and passed in the Senate. It did not pass the House however.

How these matters will ultimately play out remains to be seen. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.

Source: The Florida Independent, "Sun Sentinel: Scott's legislative agenda includes immigration enforcement," Marcos Restrepo, Sept. 21, 2011

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