Florida’s newly elected governor, Rick Scott, has mandated that Florida state agencies use the E-Verify federal database to confirm the immigration status of public workers making Florida the 14th state to require that government and contractor employers use the controversial federal verification system. Governor Scott’s order will revamp the way agencies under his control do business in Florida, forcing them and the contractors they employ to use the E-Verify system. Governor Scott’s order does not apply to the private sector.
Florida joins a growing list of states requiring agencies and contractors to use the E-Verify database, which compares information from prospective employees’ I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Forms against federal government databases to ensure they are legally allowed to work in the United States. Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah have laws that require employers to use E-Verify. In fact, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in December 2010 in an Arizona case challenging a 2007 Arizona state law that threatens to revoke companies’ business licenses if those businesses fail to use E-Verify and hire unauthorized workers. If the United States Supreme Court upholds the Arizona law, states may be able to pass laws requiring E-Verify in both the public and private sector.