The Society of American Florists members took E-verify to Capitol Hill in March during the group’s annual Congressional Action Days is now getting high-profile attention in The Washington Post.
In a May 22 story, reporter Tracy Jan detailed the challenges and shortcomings of E-Verify, an online tool from the federal government through which employers verify a new hire’s employment eligibility status. Eight states require nearly all employers to use the system and there have been calls to expand that mandate nationwide — something SAF opposes unless it is coupled with a guest-worker program that provides a “secure existing and future workforce,” said Shawn McBurney, SAF’s senior director of government relations.
Bert Lemkes, general manager of Tri-Hishtil, an agricultural firm in western North Carolina, has spoken about the issue at past CAD events. He shared his perspective with The Post.
“A lot of our elected officials are listening to those of us explaining the negative economic impact,” Lemkes said.
According to the story, “Conservative lawmakers who represent rural farming districts, as well as Democrats, have said they will support a national E-Verify mandate only if it comes with the guarantee of a robust agricultural guest-worker program and protection for existing workers who are in the country illegally.”
That’s exactly the message SAF members took to Capitol Hill last March during CAD, McBurney said.
“SAF applauds everyone who attended CAD and told their story about the challenges of finding the labor they need,” he said.