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Poll: Floridians support E-Verify requirement by 2-to-1 margin

They don’t appear to have an appetite for carve-outs.

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 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.

Written By

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

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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