1. Opinion

E-Verify wouldn’t work and would burden Florida’s employers

Here’s what readers are saying in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
A strawberry picker in eastern Hillsborough County. [CHRIS URSO  |  Tampa Bay Times]
A strawberry picker in eastern Hillsborough County. [CHRIS URSO | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Feb. 10

E-Verify doesn’t work as it should


With the effort gaining steam in the Florida Senate to mandate that every business use the inefficient, inaccurate and ineffective federal E-Verify employment eligibility system, it is important that Floridians understand how devastating it would be to our state’s economy. In 2018, Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission defeated this same effort by a vote of 24-12 — a 2-to-1 ratio. The commissioners who voted no included Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, former Attorney General Pam Bondi and 22 other commissioners who understood that the measure could jeopardize over 1 million Florida jobs, cost Florida employers $4.7 billion and place an unfunded constitutional mandate on every business and employer in the state. They understood it was nothing more than a stealth tax on Florida citizens.

If employers are forced to rely on this error-ridden federal system, 1,173,360 legal Florida workers could face job delays or lose their jobs. Moreover, foreign-born legal workers — including naturalized U.S. citizens — are over 13 times likelier to receive a false disqualification under E-Verify, and E-Verify is notoriously ineffective at stopping unauthorized employment. Finally, mandatory E-Verify disproportionately burdens Florida’s small business owners, farmers, non-profits, churches and schools with thousands of dollars in start-up costs, workforce disruption and lost hours of work. Unemployment is at record lows. Florida businesses are struggling to find qualified workers who are the backbone of this success, and we don’t need a few Tallahassee politicians throwing yet another obstacle in their way.

Mike Fernandez, Coral Gables

The writer is chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners.

Moffitt needs our support

Moffitt pushes for funds amid scandal | Feb. 9

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Research Center

This Tampa Bay Times story on H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Research Center’s fund-raising efforts comes amid a time of negative publicity. But here are some facts to keep in mind: Moffitt Cancer Center is ranked sixth in the nation and is a superb facility. It offers truly state-of-the-art care and state-of-the-art research. Now is the time to support our cancer center as a community, both financially and by respecting the life-saving work done there.

Dr. John Sinnott and Dr. Steven Clum

Sinnott is chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, and Clum is interim director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine there.

Save when times are good

Deficit to swell past $1 trillion | Jan. 29

Dusk settles over the White House in Washington. Confronted with trillion-dollar-plus deficits, President Donald Trump offered budget plan on Monday that’s offering a rehash of previously rejected spending cuts, while keeping a promise to leave Social Security and Medicare benefits untouched. [PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP]

When the economy is good, smart leaders pay down the national debt. When the economy cools down, they increase the debt to bring the economy back up, which they will pay down after it rebounds. By borrowing heavily in a good economy, foolish leaders defer a much larger cost into the future.

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg

Behind bars, not the wheel

Driver in fatal crash faces charges | Feb. 8

We hear a lot these days about mass incarceration, and I’m sure there are many nonviolent offenders sitting in jail who don’t need to be there. But this guy is not one of them. Four auto-theft arrests in three months fits the definition of habitual offender, and had he been treated as such, Saniya Daxon would be alive today.

Joseph Brown, Tampa


  1. Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. [Courtesy of Clearwater Police]
  2. Our democracy is under unprecedented attack from overseas, but the federal government has been unable or unwilling to protect our campaign-finance system.
  3. Cars sit locked in evening rush hour traffic on Dale Mabry near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Hillsborough County Commission will discuss Wednesday whether to prepare a transportation tax for the November ballot now that the fate of the current tax rests with the Florida Supreme Court. [ZACK WITTMAN  |  Times] 
  4. In this Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004, file photo, Tiffany Carr, executive director of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, left, speaks at a news conference held by Gov. Jeb Bush, background right, to announce a public awareness campaign designed to prevent disaster-related domestic violence, in Tallahassee, Fla. On Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered an investigation into a nonprofit domestic abuse agency whose CEO, Carr, had received $7.5 million in compensation over a three-year span. (AP Photo/Phil Coale, File)
  5. Paula Dockery of Lakeland served in the Florida Legislature for 16 years.
  6. The United States' life expectancy has gone down four out of the last five years largely because of deaths in the 25-64 age range.
  7. Michael Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump
  8. In this image from video, the vote total, 53-47 for not guilty, on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of congress, is displayed on screen during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate.
  9. Nurse manager Amy Hunt holds the special stethoscope that allows nurses at Tampa General Hospital to record a heartbeat while they listen to it during a routine exam.
  10. Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections worker Andrea West adds mail ballots to an inserter at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Largo. Workers are preparing to mail 260,000 vote by mail kits for the November General Election.