While comprehensive immigration reform remains stalled at the federal level, individual states have been busy considering measures relating to immigration. Below is a summary of recent developments:
- Georgia – On May 13, 2011, Governor Nathan Deal signed Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 (commonly referred to as HB 87), which will require private (or non-government) employers with 500 or more employees to begin using E-Verify to check the employment authorization of newly hired employees by January 1, 2012. Employers with 100 or more employees must start using E-Verify on July 1, 2012 and employers with 11 or more employees must begin using E-Verify on July 1, 2013. Numerous business groups, farmers, and sports and tourism organizations have expressed concerns about the law, which also has “Arizona-style” elements such as empowering police to check the immigration status of certain criminal suspects. For more information on the Georgia law, see the April 20, 2011 issue of the Georgia eAuthority.
- Indiana – On May 10, 2011, Governor Mitch Daniels signed SB 590 requiring state agencies and political subdivisions to begin using E-Verify starting July 1, 2011. Furthermore, the law will require state agencies and political subdivisions to only enter into or renew a public contract for services with a contractor if the public contract contains a provision requiring the contractor to enroll in and verify the work eligibility status of all newly hired employees through E-Verify. Contractors also will be subject to “flow down” requirements meaning they will need to secure certification of participation in E-Verify from subcontractors working on such public contracts for services. Among SB 590’s other provisions are: day laborers must attest to their immigration status before beginning work; applicants for unemployment compensation must have their immigration status verified by the Department of Workforce Development; and it disallows state income tax credits and deductions for individuals who are prohibited from being hired as employees, unless the employer participated in the E-Verify program.
- Florida – Unlike Georgia and Indiana, Florida’s legislature did not pass laws under consideration that might have required employers to use E-Verify and obtain a state identification card from newly hired employees. However, under an Executive Order from Governor Rick Scott, Florida’s state agencies are already obligated to use E-Verify and must include in all state contracts a requirement that contractors utilize the E-Verify system. See the January 2011 issue of the Immigration eAuthority for more information.