New polling by St. Pete Polls shows Floridians favor E-Verify requirements by more than a 2-to-1 margin.
The survey of active Florida voters gauged support for requirements on all private employers to very employability of its workers.
The poll found just over 60% of respondents said yes, compared to just 28% who opposed such a regulation.
Notably, the question posed to voters represented a rigid requirement with no carve-outs for particular industries.
The question was phrased as follows:
“Would you support the state legislature passing a law requiring all private companies in the state to use a federal database to check the immigration status of their workers?”
But as Florida lawmakers in the House and Senate debate the heated issue, members in both chambers have sought a compromise that puts less burden on certain employers.
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican, passed the Senate Judiciary, but only after an amendment loosened requirements on small businesses and specifically excluded agriculture companies.
Alternative legislation filed in the House and Senate puts E-Verify requirements primarily on government employers.
A requirement that employers use the E-Verify federal database to check status for workers has been a top priority for Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“I trust the Legislature will act swiftly in the 2020 Legislative Session and pass an E-Verify requirement for employers in this state to protect Florida workers, preserve the rule of law, and make our communities safer,” DeSantis said in a November press conference.
At the same time, opponents have flooded lawmakers in recent days with data suggesting E-Verify requirements would threaten Florida’s economy at a time when unemployment remains low.
A study released by FWD.us predicts Florida will lose 253,000 jobs if the “onerous” requirement gets put in place.
Business leaders, including the largest tomato grower in the nation, also submitted a letter to leaders in the Legislature questioning the accuracy of E-Verify checks and suggesting the database would threaten legal workers.