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Florida Senate committee amends immigration bill

The see-saw battle over E-Verify continues in Tallahassee. Senator Anitere Flores (R.- Miami) added an amendment to the Senate immigration bill that would make participation in the federal electronic system known as E-Verify voluntary for private businesses in Florida.

The House version of the bill mandated E-Verify compliance for all Florida businesses. The Senate amendment would allow Florida businesses to voluntarily use E-Verify or employ more traditional documents used in the I-9 citizenship verification process.

Documents that would satisfy I-9 compliance under the senate version include:

  • An unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. 57 passport card
  • A valid driver's license containing a photograph
  • An unexpired foreign passport with a U.S. employment visa and corresponding Form I-94
  • A valid federal secure national ID card or similar federal document.

The Senate bill also contains provisions dealing with handling suspected undocumented immigrants who are detained by local law enforcement agencies in Florida. The Senate bill would require local agencies to request the power to enforce immigration laws from the federal government.

Senator Mike Bennett, (R-Bradenton) has withdrawn his version of immigration law from consideration. The only measure that is still under consideration is the bill proposed by the Judiciary Committee, where Senator Flores holds the chair. No formal vote has been taken on the measure in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos has indicated he intends to restore mandatory use of E-Verify into the Senate measure. Haridopolos reportedly has said he believes the voluntary E-Verify amendment will be cut from the measure at a future date.

Source: Florida Independent, "Haridopolos wants E-Verify provisions back in Senate immigration bill," Travis Pillow 16 Mar 2011

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