DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
STAFF ANALYSIS AND ECONOMIC IMPACT
DATE: January 7, 2010 HOUSE BILL NUMBER: 503
ANALYST: Patti Grogan SPONSOR: Schenck
SENATE BILL NUMBER:
Jim Henry, Director SPONSOR:
Pat Whitford, PDES, 410-3479
Jim Crona, ASB, 414-7445
Yolanda Coto, OGC, 305 377 5750
SUBJECT: Illegal Immigrant Status
Has this bill or a substantially similar bill been previously considered by
the Legislature? Yes.
2009: HB 567 – Schenck, SB 1532 – Storms. Similar bills.
2008: HB 73 – Brown and HB 821 – Harrell. Similar bills.
This bill would require that any state agency allow a public employee to inquire
into and share information about the immigration status of any person in Florida.
The bill would also restrict county and municipal government from enacting laws
prohibiting their employees, officers, or officials from such cooperation or
communication with federal officials.
This bill substantially amends, creates, or repeals the following sections of
the Florida Statutes: Creates ss. 111.076, 125.582 and 166.04935.
Federal law addresses the ability of public employees to inquire into immigration
status in the context of verifying eligibility for certain public benefits. The
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA),
P.Law 104-193, 110 Stat. 2105, (Aug. 22, 1996) and the subsequent Interim
Guidance issued by the US Attorney General on October 29, 1997, address the
processes that public employees are to use to verify citizenship in determining
eligibility for certain federally funded programs, but not for programs using state
or local funds. Nonprofit charitable organizations providing federal, state or local
benefits are exempt from verification requirements.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996
(PRWORA), together with the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986
(IRCA), restrict eligibility for public benefits to citizens and qualified aliens, and
require verification of immigration status for people applying for public benefits.
These include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps,
and Medicaid. Mental Health Services through the Department are funded in
part with Medicaid funds, TANF funds, Social Services Block Grant funds, and
through the Stafford Act for Disaster Recovery.
The Act also requires that specified entities report individuals who the entity
“knows is not lawfully present in the United States” on a quarterly basis. On
August 16, 2000, the Social Security Administration, the Office of Family
Assistance, the Department of Labor, the INS, and the Department of Housing
and Urban Development jointly issued a Notice1 providing a determination on
what constitutes knowing an alien is not lawfully present. The Notice states that,
for the purpose of the reporting requirement, an alien is not lawfully present in
the Untied States “only when the unlawful presence is a finding of fact or
conclusion of law that is made by the entity as a part of a formal determination
that is subject to administrative review.”
In addition, a number of federal laws exist to govern the confidentiality and use
of information provided by individuals seeking assistance and benefits, including:
5 U.S.C. § 552a (Privacy Act), 7 U.S.C. § 2020(e)(8) (limits on disclosure
of information in the Food Stamp Program),
8 U.S.C. § 1644 (Communication Between State and Local Government
Agencies and the Immigration and Naturalization Service),
8 U.S.C. § 1373 (Communication Between Government Agencies and the
Immigration and Naturalization Service),
42 U.S.C. §1396a(a)(7) (Medicaid confidentiality),
42 U.S.C. § 1395w-22(h)(Medicare),
42 U.S.C. § 1306(a) (prohibits all programs administered by the U.S.
Dept. of Health and Human Services or the Social Security Administration
from disclosing any information in any person’s record unless the
disclosure is specifically authorized by law or regulation). See also Letter
from Sally K. Richardson, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, to
State Medicaid Directors (Dec. 17, 1997); U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of
Legal Counsel, Memorandum from Andrew J. Pincus, General Counsel,
Dept. of Commerce, from Randolph D. Moss, Acting Assistant Attorney
General, “The Effect of 8 U.S.C.A. § 1373(a) on the Requirement Set
Forth in 143 U.S.C. § 9(a) That Census Officials Keep Covered Census
Information Confidential” (May 18, 1999).
Notice. Federal Register: September 28, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 189) Notices, Page 58301-58303.
Accessed January 5, 2010 at http://www.dol.gov/federalregister/GetHtml.aspx?DocID=17516
III. Present Situation:
Florida public employees obtain information concerning immigration status to
verify eligibility for specific programs or when hiring for state positions.
The Department of Children and Families performs eligibility determination for
public benefits using an integrated process. The same eligibility process is used
when determining eligibility for Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families (cash assistance). Applicants begin the process
by filing a single application for benefits. The application requires applicants to
certify under "penalty of perjury" (as required by the Social Security Act) that the
information on the form is true to the best of their knowledge, including the
citizen or non-citizen status of those applying for benefits.
The status of lawfully admitted non-citizen applicants is currently validated using
the Verification Information System-Customer Processing System (VIS-CPS)
which replaced the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program
(SAVE). Use of the VIS-CPS notifies the Department of Homeland Security of
the location of an immigrant and information from that notification can be used
by DHS for any purpose, including the enforcement of immigration laws. Entities
using VIS-CPS to verify eligibility for benefits must obtain a written release from
each applicant authorizing the release of DHS information to the agency.
The ACCESS program addresses reporting of illegal noncitizens through its
policy manual, in compliance with the federal requirements for specific programs
as described in the previous section of this analysis.
State law and Department policy have established confidentiality provisions
within many programs, requiring that state employees keep confidential any
personal information received in the performance of public duties, including the
F.S. 415.107 requires that all reports and records of abuse or
neglect of older adults are confidential.
F.S. 39.0132 requires that information related to child abuse
records is confidential and cannot be disclosed to anyone other
than the court, Department, probation officers, law enforcement
agents, and guardian ad litem. Law enforcement is not defined in
the statute to clarify whether federal immigration authorities are
45 USC 400.27 prohibits the disclosure of any information about or
obtained from an individual receiving assistance in the Refugee
Services Program without the individual’s consent except in
furtherance of the state plan.
Confidentiality of information obtained for the purpose of qualifying
individuals for public benefits is governed by federal and state laws,
including the federal Privacy Act.
IV. Effect of Proposed Changes (on the Department, Its Clients or Its Mission):
Federal and state laws, regulations and policies relating to the confidentiality of
information provided to Department staff in the performance of their duties limit
the information that Department employees can use or convey. HB 503 prohibits
the Department from enforcing those restrictions, creating a circumstance in
which individual employees could share confidential information, which would be
a violation of federal law or regulations.
The bill sets no standards on the kind or quality of information that may be
communicated to federal immigration officials. Determination of immigration
status can be difficult even for Individuals familiar with immigration law. 2
Department employees reporting inaccurate information or the malicious false
reporting of immigrants could create a liability for the agency.
Conveying information to federal immigration officials without an appealable
process also appears to contradict the intent of the determination by federal
agencies, including the federal agency designated to enforce immigration laws.
Perhaps most significantly, restricting the Department from establishing any
reporting limitations or guidelines could have a negative impact on immigrant
clients seeking services. Knowing that a client or applicant’s immigration status,
or suspected immigration status, may be communicated to immigration
authorities may have a chilling effect on individuals in need of services.
Relatives or concerned neighbors, for example, may be reluctant to report
suspected child abuse if they believe immigration information will be shared with
immigration enforcement agencies.
V. Constitutional and Case Law Issues:
VI. Economic Impact Beyond DCF:
A. Does this bill impose a tax or fee? No.
B. Will this bill have any fiscal impact on the private sector? No.
VII. Technical Deficiencies: None known.
VIII. Related Issues: None known.
IX. Amendments: None.
X. Recommendation: Oppose.
On December 21, 2009 a jury in Hawaii found two farm managers not guilty of employment fraud based
on the claim that the managers could not be expected to identify fraudulent documents, documents that
passed inspection by the Transportation Security Administration.
DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
DATE: December 21, 2009
AGENCY AFFECTED: Department of Children and Families
DEPUTY/ASSISTANT SECRETARY: Don Winstead TELEPHONE: 921-8533
AGENCY CONTACT: Patti Grogan TELEPHONE: 414-0066
ANALYST: Holly Merrick TELEPHONE: 410-3062
BUDGET CONTACT: TELEPHONE:
ASB BUDGET CONTACT: TELEPHONE:
HB NUMBER: 503 SB NUMBER: PCB NUMBER:
YEAR 1 YEAR 2
(FY 2010-2011) (FY 2011-2012)
I. FISCAL IMPACT ON STATE 0 0
A. Non-recurring or First-Year
Start-Up Effects: 0 0
B. Recurring or Annualized
Continuation Effects: 0 0
C. Long-Run Effects Other
Than Normal Growth: 0 0
D. Appropriations Consequences 0 0
II. FISCAL IMPACT ON LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AS A WHOLE: 0
III. DIRECT FISCAL IMPACT ON PRIVATE SECTOR: 0
IV. FISCAL COMMENTS: NONE