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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

John Thrasher says E-Verify could have stopped 9/11

Republican Sen. John Thrasher came to the state Senate floor Tuesday to try to put teeth back into a watered-down immigration bill.
And he came armed with a powerful argument.

The bill -- which has been one of the more controversial of the 2011 legislative session -- had been stripped of a requirement that private employers use the federal E-Verify system to check a worker's immigration status. Rather than try to restore the mandate, Thrasher wanted to offer employers a strong incentive to voluntarily use the system.

Use it, or risk being fined if you hire an illegal worker -- from $500 to $1,500, escalating for repeat offenders.

Several Republicans opposed the amendment, which ultimately failed 23-16. But not before Thrasher tried to sway votes by saying E-Verify could have prevented the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks.

"I want to remind everyone in here that 10 of the 19 terrorists who attacked our country, directed by Osama bin Laden in doing that, lived in the state of Florida," Thrasher, of St. Augustine, said. "I wish we would have had the E-Verify system. ... We might have saved the lives of 3,000 Americans."

A staggering claim about E-Verify and 9/11. But true?

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 8:37pm]

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