With immigration emerging as one of the chief issues in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination -- and trying to catch up with front-runner Rick Scott -- Attorney General Bill McCollum sponsored a motion at Thursdays Cabinet meeting for state offices to use E-Verify to ensure that no illegal aliens are hired.
E-Verify is a service provided at no cost by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. It compares completed I-9s filled out by potential employees to information held by the federal government.
When individuals who ignore the legal process of citizenship obtain work, they are taking away employment opportunities from thousands of Floridians who need jobs to support themselves and their families, said McCollum.
McCollums motion was backed by every member of the Cabinet: Gov. Charlie Crist who is running as an independent for the U.S. Senate; state CFO Alex Sink who is the Democratic front-runner in the gubernatorial race; andAgriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson, the only member of the Cabinet not seeking another office this election cycle.
I applaud our Cabinet for taking action today and voting to require that every Cabinet agency use the E-Verify system, said McCollum. Florida state government should lead by example, and this is an excellent example to set.
Immigration has become one of the chief bones of contention between Scott and McCollum. Both candidates back tougher restrictions on illegal immigrants that passed in Arizona, some of which resulted in an injunction issued from a U.S. District Court judge in Phoenix on Wednesday. Both Scott and McCollum said they are in favor of bringing similar measures to Florida and were sharply critical of the Obama administration suing Arizona in federal court over the new law.
E-Verify has also led to clashes between the Scott and McCollum teams. Scott has expressed support for all Florida employers, both private and public, to use the E-Verify system. Scotts team has also been very critical of McCollum for ignoring E-Verify, which was established back in 1997, until he faced a serious challenge in a gubernatorial primary.
"Typical career politician, said Jen Baker, a spokeswoman for Scott. Bill McCollum has been in a position to do this for years. Its telling that he didn't think it was a good idea until Rick Scott proposed E-Verify for all employers weeks ago. We appreciate that Bill McCollum is following Rick's lead on combating illegal immigration, but we don't need Bill McCollum's half-measure campaign ploy. We need an actual law that requires all Florida employers to use E-Verify."
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 727-0859.