FWD.us study: E-Verify could cost Florida 253K jobs
FWD.us study finds E-verify requirements would shift workers into household jobs.

Requirements could result in the loss of 253,500 jobs statewide, researchers said.

Ahead of a critical Senate hearing on E-verify legislation, FWD.us on Tuesday released a new study showing potentially devastating economic consequences.

If employers all must verify employment eligibility using a federal E-verify system, the report by Dr. Rick Harper finds Florida likely will lose 253,500 jobs, $10.7 billion in earnings and $1.25 billion in state and local tax revenue.

That’s based on fallout from similar requirements put in place in other states, but experts say Florida’s dependence on construction, agriculture and tourism could make the consequences here even worse. The study also breaks down the regional impacts throughout Florida that would result from placing requirements on private employers.

“It would be a self-inflicted recession,” Ted Hutchison, Florida Director FWD.us, told Florida Politics

Harper said the study carefully examined states with similar economies and needs as Florida, and which had implemented E-verify requirements in the past.

He noted California previously had E-Verify requirements, for example, but reversed course. The state ultimately banned use of the system in 2011 after economically devastating results from even local ordinances.

Notably, the Southern California climate and resulting agriculture industry looks much like that in Florida.

“Our competitors are not growing soybeans and tobacco, like other states in the Southeast,” Harper said. “Instead, it’s tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries.”

That means Florida would be at a competitive disadvantage to states like California that don’t have E-Verify requirements if legislation here were to pass.

Harper said his study undermines certain arguments for the legislation as well. If anyone believes jobs going to agriculture workers now will instead go to native Floridians, that’s not what happened in other states. Rather, the jobs tend to either disappear, or go to documented workers now holding management positions, which means those workers as a whole get paid lower wages but the jobs numbers get lost.

Harper also noted that Florida, in a good year, will add 200,000 to 220,000 jobs. But the estimated loss from implementing E-verify requirements on employers would be the equivalent to wiping out more than a year of job growth in the Sunshine State.

Meanwhile, it may not significantly impact the number of undocumented workers in the state, but instead would change family dynamics and the type of jobs held.

“Male employment rates among undocumented individuals decreases and female employment increases as women go into domestic work, cleaning houses or working as a nanny,” he said. “That’s because household income is typically exempted.”

Overall, an estimated 31% of workers ultimately leave the workforce altogether, which isn’t good for the economy as a whole.

Harper said his study considers undocumented immigrants who send much of their income to their nations of origin. In fact, about 18% of income ends up being drawn out of the economy through such remittances, he said.

But even accounting for that, Florida would suffer nearly an $11 billion blow to earnings from implementing E-Verify requirements.

The study comes as E-Verify, a top priority for Gov. Ron DeSantis, divides Republicans in the Florida Senate.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Pedro

    February 11, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Looks like a really tough choice for Florida republicans, choosing between the law and order option or decimating our economy!

    • Thomas Knapp

      February 11, 2020 at 10:46 am

      There is no conflict between “the law and order option” and the economy. Florida has no duty to do federal law enforcement’s job for it, even if federal immigration law was constitutional (Article I, Section 9; Article V; and Amendment 10 say the feds are forbidden to regulate immigration).

      E-Verify is a big fat fail on every conceivable metric except for “tough-sounding rhetoric for low-information voters.” Unfortunately, that metric tends to prevail with politicians.

      • gary

        February 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm


        It is very unfortinute that prior presidents, both repub and demo have ignored our immigration laws for so long (see voter acquisition). However, America is a nation of citizens that as citizens have a right to jobs that are available. Non-citizens have no right to compete for any of those jobs over legal citizens. Of course it will take time for the job market to purge the cost of those illegal workers from all aspects of the economy. This of course means the compensation will need to adjust to acquire the legal worker, and the price for product produced by the legal worker over time will reflect. I am confident the majority of legal citizens currently supporting out president will gladly accept this short term discomfort for long term security an safety of the American citizen!

        So go pound sand you wind bag!

        • Thomas Knapp

          February 11, 2020 at 4:18 pm

          Well, obviously your strong suits don’t include history, the Constitution, or basic economics. That’s OK. I’m sure you’re competent at _something_.

      • jerry dycus

        February 12, 2020 at 2:21 am

        Obama cut illegal immigration greatly with e verify and prosecuting employers of illegal immigrants .Trump, repubs stopped that and illegal immigration surged.
        And Florida repubs want cheap illegal labor to screw hard working Americans and keep wages down.
        And Obama deported both more and criminals vs Trump less and deporting decent people, not criminals. And made very hard to get them jobs.
        Amazing how Trump, Florida repubs claim to be against illegals yet they help them get, keep US jobs.

  • Ward Posey

    February 11, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Trouble is Ron DeSantis never had to really work for a living no matter what his political ads say. He once referred to a HS job cutting lawns where he got $6 per hour.
    are you kidding me, Years ago my brother and I thought we were flat rich on $2 per hour. That wasn’t a job that was a gift to him. He has no clue what it is to actually work for a living. He shoots of his mouth like trump and sits on his ass like he did as a JAG officer in the military. No if you want the states economy to prosper, you have to elect people who have actually worked to support themselves. Republicans are allergic to actual work.

    • gary

      February 11, 2020 at 12:15 pm


      Were you ever in the Navy?

      Ron was!

      Did you ever pass the bar exam?

      Ron did!

  • John Kociuba

    February 11, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    Dear Citizens ~

    Re: Communist Democrats

    Population of Florida is 21 million not to mention undocumented illegal aliens.

    251,000 jobs will never be lost!

Comments are closed.


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