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Immigration

Matt Gaetz Urges Florida Republicans to Implement Mandatory E-Verify Statewide

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) delivers an opening statement as the House Judiciary Committee begins its markup of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, December 11, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Representative Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) urged Florida Republicans on Monday to mandate statewide use of E-Verify, a program used by employers to check whether a prospective hire is an illegal immigrant.

“Requiring the statewide use of E-Verify will curb illegal immigration while creating jobs and raising wages for Floridians,” Gaetz wrote in an op-ed for the Tallahasee Democrat. “Most importantly, it will make the agriculture sector of Florida’s economy less of a magnet for those entering the country illegally.”

Gaetz pointed to the program’s effectiveness in the state of Arizona, where E-Verify was made mandatory in 2008. The state saw a subsequent 33 percent drop in the number of illegal immigrant workers, according to a 2017 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The Florida Representative also touted the program’s effectiveness in another area, writing that implementation of E-Verify “increase[s] wages for low-skilled workers born in the United States.”

President Trump praised E-Verify during his 2016 presidential campaign, touting it as part of an immigration reform agenda.

“We will ensure that E-Verify is used to the fullest extent possible under existing law, and we will work with Congress to strengthen and expand its use across the country,” Trump said in a 2016 speech.

However, the push to mandate E-Verify nationwide has since slowed.

President Trump has focused on other aspects of immigration reform, and his administration has put in place a number of policies meant to deter illegal immigration to the U.S., including the “Remain in Mexico” policy that requires asylum seekers who cross the southern border illegally to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed.

Trump has also pushed for the completion of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. So far, 101 miles have been completed out of a proposed 450 miles by the end of 2020.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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