Sunday, June 4, 2023

Florida Congress passes tough immigration law

MIAMI, Florida. – The Florida House of Representatives passed HB 1718, which provides, among other provisions, to prohibit counties and municipalities from funding any person, entity, or organization to issue identification documents to a person who does not have proof of who is legally in the United States. . The measure was approved with 83 votes in favor and 36 against.

It also envisions, among other things, penalties of up to 15 years in prison for those who transport illegal immigrants to Florida, as well as fines for employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

The initiative now goes to the office of the governor of the state, the Republican and possible presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, promoter of the measure and whose signature is expected imminently.

The bill will reach DeSantis’ office after its approval last Friday in the state Senate and after the Florida House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republican Party, rejected 19 amendments proposed by the Democratic opposition on Monday.

“This immigration bill doesn’t solve any problems; it just dehumanizes people based on how they came to this country,” Democratic Rep. Rita Harris criticized.

The initiative approved by the state Legislature, with a majority of Republicans in both chambers, imposes up to 15 years in prison for anyone who transports undocumented immigrants to Florida, as well as fines and license revocation for companies that do not ensure the legality of immigration. all workers.

It also mandates hospitals and medical centers in the state to collect information on the immigration status of patients, and it revokes in Florida the driver’s licenses of undocumented immigrants from other states.

The approved text would also bar lawyers covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), known as “dreamers,” from practicing starting in November 2028.

In addition, it includes funds of $12,000,000.00 for the transfer of immigrants to other states in the country.


“Nearly 20 percent of Floridians are immigrants. A bill that directly harms one-fifth of our population has no place in our state. Simply put, this bill is shameful,” said Kirk Bailey today, branch policy director. in this state. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU, in English).

Bailey added that the law encourages racial profiling in a variety of Florida and creates a “show me your papers” culture, as well as hurting businesses, the local economy and the public health system.

He noted that a similar law in Arizona led to a loss of $141 million in direct costs and caused $253 million in “lost economic output,” among other things.

“It is not intended to provide the protections that are required, and it will not provide a solution to the broken federal immigration system. The border crisis is fear mongering and is being used as an excuse to increase government overreach,” he said. said Tessa Petit, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC).

Last week, a group of 80 doctors and health professionals sent letters to the leaders of both houses of the Florida Legislature, namely Senator Kathleen Passidomo and Congressman Paul Renner, warning that the proposal has a high risk of undermining health policy.

They recalled that the US Department of Homeland Security established in a guide the so-called “protected area”, which is far from the scope of immigration law, which clearly includes hospitals and medical centers.

“A hospital is not an appropriate place to involve someone in private immigration matters,” the letter’s signatories noted.

In addition, the bill also revokes in Florida any immigrant identification permits issued by other states.

It also requires certain hospitals to collect information about the immigration status of patients on admission or enrollment forms, requires the Department of Economic Opportunity to enter certain orders, and refunds certain economic development incentives if the department discovers or receives a notice that an employer has issued a job a person knows that he is an undocumented immigrant.

Now, with the measure signed in both legislative bodies, it goes to the signature of Governor Ron DeSantis to approve and take effect on July 1 of this year.

Last Friday, the Senate signed the measure, which caused a reaction from Paula Muñoz, Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition Campaign Organization.

In a press release, Muñoz said that “our state senators are deliberately hurting Florida families for their own political gain. People living in Florida will have to miss events, sometimes big events like graduations or weddings, because they are essentially stuck in a state after them. Similarly, if a person needs to seek care outside of Florida, they will not be able to return home. This is bad legislation that will make our state less safe and less prosperous.”

What the immigration bill provides:

  • Require employers with more than 25 workers to use E-verify to determine employment eligibility, make it a felony to use false identification to obtain eligibility, and allow for license revocation or heavy fines if an employer violates E-verify requirements.
  • Require Medicaid-accepting hospitals and emergency departments to collect data on patients’ immigration status, including when they visit the ER, and to regularly report the cost of care to patients with unregulated immigration status to the AHCA and the legislature.
  • It is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison to transport people with irregular immigration status into the state of Florida. This includes charging you with a felony if you return to the state of Florida after living here permanently. It also includes entering the state for tourism or business meetings with friends, co-workers or relatives without a regulated immigration status.
  • Prohibits funding of community identification programs at the city and county level.
  • Revocation of driver’s licenses in 16 states and the District of Columbia to drivers who do not have regulated immigration status.
  • It provides that the Chief of Homeland Security will coordinate immigration enforcement actions in Florida.
  • Repealing the law allowing attorneys who still monitor their immigration status to practice law if approved after 2018.
  • It requires law enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples from people who do not possess regulated immigration status and are arrested under a federal detainer request.

Nation World News Desk
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