Florida Governor Proposes Mandatory E-Verify for All Employers

E-Verify (Designed by Freepik)
March 21, 2023

Florida’s Governor DeSantis has announced that he will propose legislation requiring all Florida employers to use the E-Verify system. He hopes to strengthen the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process through this proposal. This proposed legislation would also increase penalties for document falsification and human smuggling. In addition, it prohibits local jurisdictions from issuing ID cards to individuals who are not legally residing within the country.

E-Verify is a web-based system maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It allows enrolled employers to check Form I-9 documentation submitted by employees. E-Verify reviews these documents by comparing them with data in federal databases maintained by the Social Security Administration and DHS. Currently, federal law does not require non-federal public or private employers to use the system. However, some states have additional requirements; for example, Florida may soon make it mandatory for all employers.

This announcement follows up on previous legislation the Governor proposed soon after entering office. However, the last attempt met with opposition from employers in some industries. As a result of this opposition, it only required public employers and state contractors to use the E-Verify system.

Governor DeSantis expects to see this proposal submitted with many other bills when the Legislative Session begins on March 7th. In it, he would require all employers to use E-Verify and institute the recommendations of a grand jury empaneled by the state’s Supreme Court. According to an announcement from the Governor’s office, this will:

  • “Make it a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and five years of probation, to knowingly transport, conceal, or harbor an illegal alien within or into the state;
  • Make it a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if the illegal alien is younger than 18 years old; and
  • Specify that a person commits a separate offense for each individual transported, concealed, or harbored and allow transported individuals to be detained by law enforcement as material witnesses.”

Failing to adhere to the universal E-Verify requirement would have significant consequences. For example, employers with two violations within 24 months of each other could have their license revoked. As a result, complying with Form I-9 and E-Verify requirements would become more crucial than ever. The best way to ensure compliance is with an electronic I-9 management system that offers E-Verify integration. This tool can guide HR personnel through the process. It also provides convenient and secure storage of forms and documentation.

When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.