DeSantis Enacts Strict E-Verify Law To Prevent Hiring of Illegal Immigrants

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, March 2023

By Hudson Crozier

What happened: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the toughest anti-illegal immigration bill in recent history. Though it contains wide-ranging measures, the bill will have the most impact on Florida’s workforce. Effective July 1, it requires companies with over 25 employees to use the federal E-Verify system to check an applicant’s work authorization, allows the state to audit businesses suspected of hiring illegal immigrants, and threatens suspension of licenses for knowingly hiring them.

Why it matters: Now that the U.S. has ended the Trump-era regulation known as Title 42, America’s already historic rates of illegal immigration are expected to skyrocket, with up to 400,000 crossing the border illegally each month. In a state with hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers, his approach appears to be working; reports have already come out of construction workers quitting or refusing to work their jobs over fear of deportation.

The E-Verify debate: DeSantis’s decision comes as Republicans in Congress also want to mandate E-Verify across the country as part of a wide-ranging border security bill. Despite some support at the state level for its effectiveness, conservatives such as Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) fear that the federal government could use it to impose vaccine mandates or other controversial policies on businesses.


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