Mandatory E-Verify opponents do not propose eliminating an employee verification program but say businesses need one that works well for employers — especially small companies — and workers.

Analysts and business organizations have argued that E-Verify alone would hurt Florida and the U.S. economy, but those same organizations say that a program that allows employers to verify a worker’s immigration status must be part of federal immigration reform.

The Immigration Policy Center compares the “Legal Workforce Act of 2011″ to Rep. Lamar Smith’s R-Texas, which would make the E-Verify system mandatory for all employers within three years, and Sen. Robert Menendez’s “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011,” which also includes mandatory E-Verify. The bill filed by Menendez includes a program to require immigrants who were undocumented as of June 1 to register with the government, learn English and pay fines and taxes on their way to becoming Americans.

The Policy Center explains that:

Like all comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bills since 2005, the Menendez bill allows for a mandatory E-Verify system only in context to other elements of comprehensive immigration reform, like a generous legalization program, reforms to family- and employment-based systems, border and interior enforcement and integration programs. Under Menendez’s bill, current unauthorized workers would have a chance to legalize their status, and future workers could come through newly created legal channels.

The Policy Center adds that, although some groups will continue to oppose mandatory E-Verify even as part of comprehensive immigration reform, “others have realized that if E-Verify isn’t going anyway, it had better work well and provide strong protections for workers.”

Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, which supports mandatory E-Verify, says there are really only two sides to this issue: elected officials who support the hiring of illegal aliens or those who support the hiring of fellow citizens. “At the end of the day, if elected officials are unwilling to protect our jobs, then maybe it’s time that those elected officials lost their jobs.”

Numbers USA, which promotes attrition through enforcement immigration legislation and actively supports Smith’s mandatory E-Verify bill, indicates that 16 states currently have some form of state-required E-Verify, including Florida.

One of Rick Scott’s first acts was to sign an executive order requiring that all state agencies — and all companies that enter into contracts with state agencies — use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of their workers

In Florida’s 2011 legislative session, Senate Bill 2040 and House Bill 7089, two proposed immigration-enforcement bills, did not pass. They both included mandatory E-Verify rules.

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