From BayNews9.com, Christian De La Rosa, Reporter, 4 Apr 2011.
ORANGE COUNTY [FL] –The Unauthorized Senate Bill may do more harm than good to Florida. Officials working closely with the farm-working industry are paying close attention to an Unauthorized Worker Bill being discussed by legislators in Tallahassee. If signed into law, Senate Bill 2040 would make all employers use E-Verify, a federal program for electronic verification of employment eligibility, to prevent the hiring of workers illegally.
The bill has faced fierce opposition from immigration advocates denouncing it mirrors the controversial Arizona Immigration law. It allows local Law Enforcement officials to verify the legal status of someone they arrest and begin a process with a means for deportation. But there are bigger worries with this bill says Mike Carlton with the Florida Food and Vegetable Association. Carlton helps coordinate the temporary agriculture worker program better known as H-2-A. It provides Florida growers a legal way to hire non U-S citizen workers who would otherwise be in the country illegally.
H-2-A requires workers be paid a minimum wage of $9.50, along with housing and transportation. Carlton says that while it’s a legal way of running things, it isn’t cost-effective and the reason why probably many growers opt not to go the legal route. He adds the Senate Bill 2040, pushing for the use of E-Verify, would prevent illegal hirings but in change it is also a major threat to the U-S agriculture worker-force. He predicts it could potentially disqualify about half or more of current farm-workers from the labor force and create an “out shoring” of food production in the U-S.