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Democratic senators call the E-Verify bill 'misguided' and 'garbage'

Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, left, and Sen. Victor Torres

Sen. Torres called the measure garbage saying "This bill is 'basura' - go back to the drawing board, Governor." and Sen. Book said its a "misguided, dysfunctional and disingenuous" law.

Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book and Sen. Victor Torres have issued statements critical of Governor DeSantis decision to sign SB 1718 which requires employers of more than 25 workers to use the Federal E-Verify system to confirm their workers are legal residents.

“While the Governor is distracted by his White House ambitions and the Southern border, Florida families are facing real issues here at home with rising property insurance costs and increased costs of living," said Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book (D-Davie) .

"This bill is basura - go back to the drawing board, Governor," said Senator Victor Torres (D-Orlando). "Better yet - go to Congress and insist on a better solution that doesn’t belittle an entire group of people who are searching for a better quality of life and support our state’s economy.”

Senate Bill 1718 does a lot more than require some to use E-Verify. It also bars local governments from issuing Identification Cards (ID) to illegal aliens, and requires hospitals to collect and submit data on the costs of providing health care to illegal aliens.

"Instead of using people as political pawns," said Senator Book, "he should be focused on the job in Florida." She called the measure "a misguided, dysfunctional and disingenuous way to deal with a problem the federal government should be in charge of fixing.”

SB 1718 expands penalties for employers who fail to comply with E-Verify requirements, including the possible suspension and revocation of employer licenses and the imposition of specific penalties on employers that knowingly employ illegal aliens.

“The anti-immigration bill signed today by the Governor is at best illegal and at worst inhumane," said Senator Torres. "Economically speaking, this a disaster for Florida’s service, agricultural and construction industries. While the current system has many issues, decimating the hardworking labor force that is the backbone of these industries is not the answer. This bill will cause more shortages and increased prices for consumers."

The new law also increases penalties for human smuggling making the crime eligible for prosecution under the Florida Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act for anyone that smuggles a minor, or more than five people, and when the defendant has a prior conviction for human smuggling.

"The worst part about this bill is the impact to migrant children and those whose help them. We’re going to start locking up pastors, first responders and health care workers, who will now be subject to criminal penalties for their humanitarian assistance," said Senator Torres.
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