Incoming CFO Jeff Atwater (Pic via Facebook)

Efforts to enact E-Verify, a program that would stop the hiring of immigrants not authorized to work in Florida, will likely return in Florida’s 2011 legislative session.

Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, FLIMEN, notes that it unsuccessfully sought legislative support for the Florida Employment Protection Act from October 2009 through March 2010.

The Immigration Reform Law Institute, which calls itself “the only public interest law firm in the United States devoted exclusively to protecting the rights and interests of United States citizens in immigration-related matters,” wrote the Employment Protection Act.

FLIMEN indicates:

The bill was focused in that it contained only E-Verify, an employment verification program to address the illegal alien job magnet problem. The bill contained both public and private E-Verify. Although 15 or more states have public and/or private E-Verify NOT ONE FLORIDA SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE would sponsor this excellent bill.

FLIMEN says that it “has recently had several telephone discussions with [former state Sen.] Jeff Atwater regarding the failure of the Florida Senate to enact the E-Verify bill.”

Atwater responded to FLIMEN with a letter (which you can read in full at the bottom of this post):

E-verify is important. I am personally committed to seeing it pass in the coming session – now is the time to do it! To that end, I have already made contact with sitting Senators and candidates for the State Senate to consider filing and passing this legislation in the coming year. We have identified a Senate sponsor of the bill and there is a lot of interest within the Senate to see that this bill passes in the coming year.

Atwater was elected Chief Financial Officer last week.

The benefits of E-Verify are not clear-cut. According to the Immigration Policy Center,

Expanding mandatory E-Verify as part of the stimulus package would threaten the jobs of thousands of U.S. citizens, decrease productivity, saddle U.S. businesses with additional costs, and hinder the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) ability to provide benefits to needy and deserving Americans – all at a time when we need to stimulate our economy.  The fact is: expanding E-Verify now would decelerate the Stimulus Package and slow America’s economic recovery.

Fox News reports,

The system Congress and the Obama administration want employers to use to help curb illegal immigration is failing to catch more than half the number of unauthorized workers it checks, a research company has found.

The online tool E-Verify, now used voluntarily by employers, wrongly clears illegal workers about 54 percent of the time, according to Westat, a research company that evaluated the system for the Homeland Security Department. E-Verify missed so many illegal workers mainly because it can’t detect identity fraud, Westat said.

Also during the 2010 legislative session, state Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Orlando, who won a seat in Congress last week, filed House Bill 219, which was co-sponsored by 18 other Republicans. The bill “prohibits [state] agencies from entering into a contract for contractual services with contractors not registered & participating in federal work authorization program.”

FLIMEN indicates that state House Majority Leader, Rep. Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, gave his support to the bill, as well. H.B. 219 unanimously passed in the House but died in the Senate — when Jeff Atwater, who now supports the push to pass E-Verify, was Senate President.

Atwater’s letter:

Atwater to FLIMEN

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