New Bill Discourages Illegal Immigrants from Taking Residence in Florida
As sanctuary states and cities plead with Washington to provide them with more resources to deal with the flood of illegal migrants who turn up in their jurisdictions, the Florida Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis moved in another direction. During the 2023 legislative session, which ended in May, lawmakers passed a comprehensive bill aimed at discouraging illegal aliens from settling in Florida. Senate Bill 1718 – a bill that was endorsed by FAIR – was signed into law by Gov. DeSantis on May 10, ushering in an approach to dealing with illegal immigration that can be emulated by other states that wish to protect the interests and security of their citizens. The new law systematically eliminates incentives for illegal aliens to take up residence in Florida and gives the state the power to prosecute criminal enterprises that engage in human smuggling and trafficking.
Among the key provisions of SB 1718:
- Mandatory use of E-Verify by all employers with 25 or more employees to check workers’ employment eligibility. Employers that fail to use E-Verify are subject to fines of $1,000 per day for each violation.
- Suspension of business licenses for companies that knowingly hire illegal aliens.
- Makes it a felony to use fake identification documents to secure employment.
- Combats human smuggling and trafficking by making it a felony to transport five or more illegal aliens, or a single illegal alien minor. Doing so can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and 15 years in prison.
- Provides $12 million to transport illegal aliens who consent to relocation to sanctuary jurisdictions that, by law or by proclamation, welcome illegal aliens.
- Invalidates driver’s licenses issued to illegal aliens by other states.
- Bars local jurisdictions and nongovernmental organizations from issuing identification documents to illegal aliens.
- Requires hospitals to collect data and report healthcare costs for treatment of illegal aliens.
In signing SB 1718 into law, Gov. DeSantis stated, “The Biden Border Crisis has wreaked havoc across the United States and has put Americans in danger. In Florida, we will not stand idly by while the federal government abandons its lawful duties to protect our country. The legislation I signed today gives Florida the most ambitious anti-illegal immigration laws in the country, fighting back against reckless federal government policies and ensuring the Florida taxpayers are not footing the bill for illegal immigration.”
The governor’s sentiments were echoed by State Senator Blaise Ingoglia, the prime sponsor of SB 1718, who also urged other states to follow Florida’s lead. “It was an honor to usher this bill through the process, knowing we are safeguarding Floridians and serving as the model for the nation to combat this crisis created by our very own President,” said Ingoglia.