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July 5, 2011
Source: The Immigration Forum


Washington, D.C.­–The National Immigration Forum convened a panel of business leaders from around the country to discuss the economic impact of mandatory E-Verify on America’s businesses and to release anew examination, “E-Verify: States Bear the Economic Burden”, on state efforts to enact E-Verify legislation.

As Congress considers legislation to mandate the use of E-Verify — a federal, electronic program to verify the work authorization of new hires — without pairing it with a path to legal status for undocumented workers, Members of Congress should look to the experience of state legislatures which struggled mightily with the issue this year.

Several state legislatures will close this month after considering mandatory E-Verify legislation largely modeled after Arizona’s mandatory E-Verify law. Alabama, Georgia, Utah, South Carolina and Indiana passed draconian immigration enforcement measures that include burdensome E-Verify provisions, but many more states rejected them or failed to consider them at all.  Threats by many state lawmakers to pass E-Verify measures fizzled when an awakened business community realized how severely these measures would affect their industries and bottom lines and began serious efforts to block the legislation. This happened in Florida, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado and other states.

Georgia’s E-Verify law went into effect on July 1st; the palpable economic consequences should be a cautionary tale for state legislatures trying to enact their own immigration laws. In Georgia, farmers can’t meet their labor needs.  According to the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association, $300 million worth of crops could be at risk if the 11000 empty agriculture jobs remain unfilled.
Charles Hall, Executive Director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association said,  “As most Georgia produce growers have completed their 2011 spring harvest, the outlook for the fall and spring of 2012 is very uncertain. Fruit and vegetable growers must know they have reliable and dependable harvest crews or the growers will reduce their fruit and vegetable acreage or turn to less labor intensive crops.”

After a prolonged legislative battle, mandatory E-Verify legislation was defeated twice in the Florida legislature. The Florida business and agricultural community stood in united opposition against the legislation because they rightly saw mandatory E-Verify as a threat to Florida’s economic recovery.

Jose Gonzalez, VP Governmental Affairs of the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF)said, “Mandating the costly and burdensome E-Verify system is tantamount to a new tax on Florida's employers.  AIF stands firm in our position that the immigration reform debate needs to be played out at the federal level.”

Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce warned about the harmful impact to employers of mandatory E-Verify without a reform of the immigration system, “Small businesses are the backbone of America. They employ over 50 percent of the U.S. workforce and have generated 64 percent of new jobs over the last 15 years, and in that group, the fastest-growing segment is the Hispanic-owned small business." He continued," But mandatory E-Verify at the state and federal level would stifle job growth by placing a disproportionate regulatory and costly burden on small business."

“State efforts to pass mandatory E-Verify legislation only add to the labyrinth of absurd and outdated state laws and regulations that impact America’s immigration system which is federal law and a responsibility of the federal government”, said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.  “States would be better served by pressuring their Congressional delegations to address this problem with a national solution and passing federal immigration reform.”


For a copy of the examination of state legislation, please visit:


E-Verify Legislation in the States





Alabama HB56 2011 All employers public and private
Arizona HB 2779 HB 2745 2007, 2008 All employers public and private
Colorado HB 1343, SB 139, SB 193 2006, 2008 State contractors
Florida Executive Order 2011 State Agencies, state employees, contractors and subcontractors
Georgia SB 529, HB 2, SB 447, HB 87 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011 State Agencies, contractors, subcontractors
Idaho Executive Order 2006 State agencies, contractors
Indiana SB 590 2011 State agencies, contractors
Minnesota Executive Order 2008 State agencies, state contracts—expired in 2011
Mississippi SB 2988 2008 All employers, contractors, subcontractors
Missouri HB 1549, HB 3 2008,2009 Public employers, contractors, subcontractors
Nebraska L 403 2009 Public employers, public contractors
North Carolina SB 1523
HB 36
State agencies, all employers, public and private
Oklahoma HB 1804 2007 Public employers, contractors, state contractors
Rhode Island Executive Order 2008, 2011 State agencies, grantees, contractors, subcontractors. rescinded by the Governor in 2011
South Carolina HB 4400
S 20
All employers, public and private
Tennessee HB 1378 2011 All employers, public and private
Utah SB 81, SB 39, HB 116 2008, 2009, 2011 Public employers, contractors, subcontractors. Employers with more than 15 employees
Virginia H 737, HB 1859, SB 1049 2010, 2011 State agencies, public contractors and subcontractors

Further reading:
Center for American Progress: “Your State Can’t Afford It, the Fiscal Impact of States’ Anti-Immigrant Legislation” (includes overview of E-Verify costs)