DeSantis’ New Immigration Law for Florida
In February 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis proposed legislation that would suppress undocumented immigration in the state of Florida. In April, the Florida Senate passed the resulting bill (SB 1718), and on May 2, the House followed suit. The Governor has now signed the bill and it will take effect on July 1, 2023.
What the Immigration Bill calls for:
The legislation includes restrictions and penalties that are intended to hinder the flow of undocumented immigrants into the state. It increases employment verification requirements, discourages transporting undocumented immigrants en masse, requires hospitals to report on costs related to treatments and services, and bans the Florida use of driver’s licenses issued to them in other states.
Employment rules: For some time, the federal E-verify system has applied only to public employers and contractors, but with this new bill, all companies with 25 or more employees must use E-Verify to ensure employment eligibility of their workers. Employers that fail to comply could lose their operating licenses. In addition, the legislation allows for random audits of companies suspected of employing undocumented workers.
· Transportation limits: The bill calls for stronger penalties for human smuggling. which could include helping people from other countries enter Florida. (The original proposal called for criminal charges against anyone transporting migrants within the state, but that section was removed.)
· Healthcare requirements: Hospitals that receive federal and state Medicaid reimbursements will now be required to track and report the amount of money spent to care for undocumented immigrants in their emergency rooms.
· Driver’s licenses and other IDs: Undocumented aliens who have received driver’s licenses in other states will be barred from using them in Florida. Also, local governments will be prohibited from funding the creation of identification cards for illegal immigrants.
· Unauthorized Alien Transport Program: The bill provides up to $12 million to fund the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program (part of the Division of Emergency Management). This program stemmed from DeSantis’s transportation of immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last year.
ADVICE TO OUR CLIENTS: Most of our clients and their families, documented or undocumented, will see no change to their lives and DeSantis’ immigration law for Florida does not otherwise affect them, with one exception: If you are undocumented and have any driver’s license other than a STATE OF FLORIDA license, you may run a greater risk of being arrested now if stopped by law enforcement. For further clarification, or if you are a client and have a specific question about how Desantis’ Immigration Law affects you, please message your question to us through your client portal or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org