Business moves to stop immigration bill

July 6, 2011 at 1:58 PM

MIAMI, July 6 (UPI) -- Business leaders are mobilizing against forcing employers to verify their workers' immigration status, predicting dire effects on farming and tourism.

On Tuesday, executives from several states spoke out against the "E-verify" plan proposed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, in a telephone news conference set up by the National Immigration Forum, El Nuevo Herald of Miami reported.

Jose Gonzalez of Associated Industries of Florida, a business lobby in Tallahassee, said: "Florida is highly dependent on international tourism from Latin America and we're highly dependent on global trade. For the state of Florida this was going to wreck our economy at a time when Florida was dealing with near-record unemployment, almost 12 percent."

He said an E-Verify program that failed recently in the Legislature threatened to deprive the state of essential workers in agriculture, hospitality and construction.

Smith's bill would establish the first national mandatory status check for employers.

Gonzalez called for a guest worker program "that will address the labor needs of a state like Florida."

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