A Florida immigration restrictionist group put up a billboard this week saying Gov. Rick Scott is welcoming “illegal aliens” to Florida.
Located near the Georgia border, the billboard reads: “Welcome Illegal Aliens: We offer jobs, free health care, education, and welfare. Thank Governor Scott.”
Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, the group responsible for the billboard, writes: “This is a wakeup call for Florida Governor Rick Scott who promised Floridians he would work to get mandatory E-Verify enacted to protect our legal workers. He has remained silent and has failed to use the power of the Governor’s office to help get E-Verify enacted.”
E-Verify is the electronic federal database used to verify if a job applicant is authorized to work in the U.S.
Floridians for Immigration Enforcement adds that it is time for Scott to fulfill his campaign promise and make E-Verify mandatory for all Florida employers, asking, “Will Florida Republican Leadership AGAIN Block E-Verify?” The group writes that state Rep. Gayle Harrell‘s bill filed in early January that would require every private employer to use E-Verify “has yet to have a hearing in either the House or Senate.”
One of Scott’s first acts as governor was to sign an executive order requiring that all state agencies — and all companies that enter contracts with state agencies — use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of their workers. Last May, Scott quietly issued another executive order which supersedes the one signed in January 2011. Scott said in August 2011 that the federal government needs to do its job: Secure the border, implement a national immigration policy and create a work visa program that actually works.
That same month, when he spoke at a conservative gathering, Scott delivered the same message adding that “I tried to get a [immigration] bill passed last year. It got through the Senate. It didn’t make it through the House. It will happen this session.”
Immigrant advocate groups, opposed to measures like E-Verify, said this week that the employment authorization program is included in highly controversial immigration “attrition through enforcement” state laws in Alabama, Arizona, and Georgia.
Opponents of E-Verify during Florida’s 2011 legislative session included business groups like the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association.