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Thad Altman bill cracks down on businesses in Florida using undocumented workers

Florida Today logo Florida Today 12/12/2018 Wayne T. Price
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Months prior to the start of the new state legislative session, Rep. Thad Altman is proposing legislation aimed at preventing businesses hiring undocumented workers in Florida.

The Indialantic Republican's bill would will require all private employers, public employers, and state contractors to enroll in E-Verify and to ensure all new hires are eligible to work in the United States.

E-Verify is an electronic federal database which allows enrolled employers to check the work eligibility of new hires by cross referencing records within the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security.

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Under federal law, it is generally illegal to knowingly hire a person who entered the country illegally, however, enrollment in and the use of E-Verify is not required for all businesses.

In Florida, an executive order signed by Gov. Rick Scott requires state contractors and agencies to use E-Verify.

Altman's bill would expand it to include private businesses and make it a statute.

Altman emphasized his measure is aimed at those who entered the country illegally,  not those going through the proper procedures to work and live in the United States. Rather, it focuses on going after businesses that try to gain an advantage using cheap labor.

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“I think it’s fair and not onerous to businesses that want to follow the law,” Altman told FLORIDA TODAY.

Other provisions in Altman's bill includes:

  • Creating a complaint process overseen by the Department of Economic Opportunity for any employer suspected of hiring an illegal immigrant.
  • Penalties for the hiring of an illegal immigrant.
  • Requiring the notification of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement, and providing parameters for civil liability and immunity for employers who comply with the law.

“We are sending a clear message that if you want to do business in this state, you must employ legal U.S. citizens and residents.”

Altman, who has sponsored similar legislation unsuccessfully over the past few years, is still looking for companionship bill in the Florida Senate, which he is confident he will find this session.

Check back with FLORIDA TODAY for updates to this story.

Contact Price at 321-242-3658 or wprice@floridatoday.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Fla2dayBiz.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Thad Altman bill cracks down on businesses in Florida using undocumented workers

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