U.S. immigration law and policy have been the subject of intense debate in recent years at the federal and state level. Our Orlando immigration lawyers have been eyeing all developments carefully, as statutes and procedures have a tendency (especially of late) to change on a dime.
Recently, the Sun Sentinel reported Florida lawmakers are considering a bill, SB 164 (and its House companion) that would mandate Florida employers’ use of the federal E verify system. Proponents say it would ensure all prospective employees are authorized (according to immigration records – specifically I-9 employment verification forms) to work in the U.S. Opponents say it is prone to error and could deprive lawful immigrants of key job prospects.
Unauthorized workers would be reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while non-compliant companies would be penalized with revocation of all licensing (aka – shut down). Exemptions would exist for homeowners hiring occasional help around their property, as well as independent contractors. For those not familiar, independent contractors is an increasingly popular worker classification in which the worker is considered his or her own independent agent. That means businesses do not pay taxes or benefits and for whose actions they are (typically) not liable. Missclassification of workers, however, has proven problematic with regard to employment law, so there is concern this could prove yet another loophole.
Nonetheless, new Florida Governor Rick DeSantis has been vocal in supporting mandatory E Verify in Florida.
Legal Counsel for Florida Immigrant Employment Visas, E Verify
Our Orlando employment immigration law firm helps new and soon-to-be U.S. immigrants navigate the bureaucracy of I-9 forms and E Verify, ensuring all required documentation is provided and timely submitted to avoid time-consuming, costly delays in processing. We can also contest erroneous findings of E Verify noncompliance.
Employers have been required since the Reagan-era immigration reforms in the 1980s to ensure new hires are legally permitted to work in the U.S. The goal with the electronic system was to make it easier, results more uniform.
However, a 2009 study by Westat (commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security) found E Verify only identified undocumented workers about half the time.
Then there are the false negatives. An ACLU White Paper published in 2013 revealed 1 in 400 E Verify denials was later reversed, amounting nationally to some 400,000 improperly denied the right to work due to E Verify issues. Unfortunately, many of these workers don’t realize they have a right to contest an erroneous finding of E Verify noncompliance – or have any clue where to start. It certainly doesn’t help that an employee has just eight days to initiate an appeal of E Verify noncompliance. Meanwhile, gathering the public records necessary to pinpoint the paperwork issue (it’s almost always a paperwork issue) can take three months or more.
Although DHHS points to the fact that 85 percent of E Verify users are satisfied, this glosses over the reality that 15 percent are not satisfied, which is significant.
Voluntary use of E Verify is fairly common, and employers have been required since the Reagan-era immigration reforms of the 1980s to ensure prospective employees are legally permitted to work in the U.S. However some of Florida’s industry leaders insist mandating the electronic process could lead to unreasonable hardships. It’s also possible that given Florida’s size, mandatory E Verify use could cause a backlog resulting in extensive processing delays.
Consulting with an experienced Orlando immigration attorney as soon as possible maximizes your chances of putting this behind you quickly so you can get to work.
Contact the Orlando, Florida immigration attorneys at The Chidolue Law Firm, serving Orlando and Lake Mary, by calling (407) 995-6567 or email us.
More Blog Entries:
SMART STARTUPS HIRE LAKE MARY SMALL BUSINESS LAWYER TO AVOID TOP LAWSUIT CAUSES, Jan. 19, 2019, Orlando E Verify Immigration Attorney Blog