By 83 votes in favor and 36 against (all Democrats and one Republican), the Florida House of Representatives this Tuesday approved a tough immigration legislation package against undocumented immigration (HR 1617), the first of its kind in the United States. Has become the state with the toughest laws. states.
The new legislation, backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, includes changes to the E-Verify program, which verifies the immigration status of workers, adds funding for a transportation program for undocumented immigrants, and measures to combat the smuggling of unauthorized persons into the country. Increases penalty for
Among the changes, the bill replaces the requirement for employers with more than 25 employees to use the federal employment certification program. And those with fewer than 25 employees would need to use the current I-9 process. Current law indicates that E-Verify is only required for public employers and their contractors.
He Project summary Published on the Florida State Assembly website, it states that the initiative prohibits counties and municipalities from providing funds to any person, institution or organization to issue identification documents to people who do not present proof of legal presence in the US. We do; requiring hospitals to collect information on the immigration status of patients at the time of admission; Require some private employers to use the E-Verify system to verify the employability of persons accepting offers of employment; Removes a provision authorizing unauthorized immigrants to obtain a license to practice law; and establishes criminal penalties for persons who willfully and willfully violate, or who reasonably should have known and should have violated, certain provisions relating to transportation in this State illegally and without inspection by the Federal Government enter the United States
The bill, which had already passed the state Senate (SB 1718), was sent to Governor DeSantis, who has made immigration a campaign issue for a possible run for the Republican presidential nomination.
The anti-immigrant bill was sponsored by Republican Reps. Bernie Jacques (Seminole) and Kian Michael (Jacksonville). Michael shares the story of his son, who was killed in a car accident involving an undocumented immigrant who did not have a driver’s license.
Michael said during the pre-vote session, “This bill would have made a world of difference because it would in many ways have prevented, or had the opportunity to prevent, the death of our son.” According to the state legislator, the man responsible for the death of Michael’s son entered the country illegally at least twice.
What is the new law about?
Among other measures, the new law requires hospitals that accept Medicaid and emergency departments to collect data on patients’ immigration status and submit it to the state. Even when they go to the emergency room.
In addition, it allocates a budget of $12 million to move undocumented immigrants to other states.
- Prohibits the use of valid driver’s licenses from other states in the hands of undocumented immigrants;
- Require hospitals to collect information on immigration status of patients and submit quarterly reports; Revises rules to enable sharing of undocumented patient information;
- increased fines for employing uncertified immigrants;
- Punishes repeat offenders more severely for illegal hiring.
- It imposes severe prison sentences on foreigners who knowingly use false papers;
- establishes mandatory use of the federal E-Verify program;
- order random audits of companies to verify compliance with the use of e-verify;
- It threatens to take away lifetime operating licenses from companies that repeat the hiring of undocumented immigrants;
- prohibits undocumented immigrants from practicing as attorneys (in the case of Protected Dreamers under the DACA program); And it establishes fines and prison terms for those who transport undocumented immigrants (it doesn’t make clear what happens to those mixed marriages).
The final version does not include language that recommends making it a third-degree felony to knowingly transport, conceal, or harbor an undocumented alien. But it would be a third-degree felony to knowingly transport persons living illegally in the state of Florida, a stance the Church condemns and disapproves of.
The plan also includes:
- Revoke all out-of-state licenses for unauthorized aliens;
- Those registering to vote are required to confirm that they are citizens of the United States and legal residents of Florida;
- it bars unauthorized immigrants (the Dreamers protected by DACA) from practicing law;
- Eliminates tuition waivers for undocumented immigrant students;
- Require hospitals to collect data on the immigration status of patients and the cost of providing care to undocumented aliens and report the data regularly to the governor and the Legislature;
- Increase in penalties for human trafficking.
With regard to penalties for those accused of transporting unspecified persons, it indicates that transporting unspecified persons or undocumented persons should become a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison in order to remain regulated in the state. The new law also includes allowing you to return to the state of Florida if you are charged with a crime when you live here permanently. It also penalizes entry into the state for tourism or business meetings with friends, co-workers or relatives without a regulated or permitted immigrant status.
Following the approval of the bill HR 1617 in the Florida State House of Representatives, organizations defending the rights of immigrants quickly reacted and condemned the initiative as Governor DeSantis sent.
“During this legislative session, most state congressmen have sought to use our communities as political scapegoats in their relentless quest to advance the political ambitions of the (Republican) party line,” said Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) director said executive Tessa Pettit.
“This law seeks to create a false border between Florida and the rest of the United States. It is intended to criminalize people who are still going through the complicated immigration process and have their families and friends visit the state,” They said.
Pettit further stated that the new law “will limit access to our renowned health care providers for those seeking life-saving cancer or cardiovascular care” and that the sole purpose and result of this new law will be “intentionally increasing division in our communities.”
According to FLIC’s analysis, the bill passed Tuesday “does not intend to provide the protections they demand, and it will not provide a solution to the broken federal immigration system. The border crisis is fear-mongering used to increase the reach of government.” being used as an excuse.
For Renata Bozzetto, deputy director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Florida’s new immigration law is “reckless” and has “incredible potential for harm.” He stated that “It is sad and very revealing that, during the only House committee hearing, everyone who came to testify from all corners of our state testified against it and the bill still passed according to the rules.” Party lines.”
Makes Floridians “criminals”
According to the organization UnidosUs, the former National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the new Florida Republican law is “harmful” and “will criminalize Floridians who provide assistance to undocumented family, friends or neighbors, including those living in Have been in the state for many years and have children who were born in the United States.
“Florida has long prided itself on being a welcoming state to all who immigrate here. Unfortunately, House Bill 1617 is the most recent example of the legislative majority’s refusal to address the real needs of the Hispanic community, such as That’s lowering the cost of housing and utilities, lowering utility rates, expanding access to insurance and health care,” said Jared Nordlund, director of advocacy for the United States state of Florida.
He said the controversial law “targets all immigrants living in Florida, regardless of their legal status or the number of years they have lived in our state” and affects millions of Floridians “which cost the state economy millions of tax dollars and approximately 12,600 Contribute million dollars.
At a time when it should be working to improve the welfare of all Floridians, the legislative majority has chosen to enable profiteers, profiteers and corporate monopolies at the expense of hardworking taxpayers.
Nordlund further stated that by allocating $12 million from taxpayers to the Unauthorized Alien Transportation Program, “state government representatives will be manipulating many more immigrants to be smuggled into other states, replicating the shameful political stunt that has been used by adults and Send the kids to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.” Unknowingly.”
The program outlined by Nordlund was ordered by DeSantis last September and used private flights to move dozens of immigrants who were in deportation proceedings from Texas to Massachusetts after the federal government processed them at the border. They were released under the Alternative Detention Program and free to await resolution of their asylum cases in immigration courts.
“HB 1617 will affect us all. Under HB 1617, employers and health care providers in Florida will be required to act as law enforcement and verify the immigration status of every employee and patient receiving critical health care. The UnidosUs Advocacy Director warns that Floridians who provide services to immigrants, including churches, attorneys and social service providers, could be prosecuted for doing their jobs.
For Governor DeSantis, the “increasing threat posed by illegal immigration as a result of the Biden administration’s push to secure borders” was the reason for pushing this tough bill.
However, as with other similar immigration policies pushed during his administration, DeSantis does not explain why Biden’s border policy during the first two years of his administration has been based on compliance with due process; That is, everyone who has probable cause for asylum is processed as permitted by current immigration law and it is immigration judges who decide these people’s future in the United States.
But despite the fact that immigrants released at the border do not have admission by federal authorities and do not accrue illegal time spent in the United States, to DeSantis they are undocumented aliens who must be detained and deported. should be done.
Given this interpretation of federal law, Florida’s governor has increased penalties for human trafficking, strengthened statutes for the detention of undocumented aliens, required universal use of E-Verify, improved penalties for document falsification, and Call on local governments to put a moratorium on the issuing of IDs. Card to people who are not in the country legally.