Benjamin Perez makes a living cleaning houses in Miami. He works without legal permission like thousands of other foreigners who make up an essential workforce for the state of Florida. Their future now hangs in the balance due to the recently passed draconian anti-immigration law.
Initiative promoted by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis Among other things, seeks to prevent undocumented people from being hired.
Beginning July 1, companies with more than 25 employees must check the federal database E-Verify for the legal status of people they want to employ. Ignoring this obligation and employing a foreigner in an irregular situation will attract heavy fines.
Perez, 40, has lived and worked in the US for two decades, but fears he may no longer be able to do so. Like many people, he left his country of origin, Mexico, in search of better economic conditions. He was a mason until an injury forced him to change sectors.
He now lives in a downtown Miami apartment with his Nicaraguan wife and one of his nephews, Joel Altamirano. All three work. No one is allowed to do this.
“For those of us who come undocumented rather than willing to work, The way to get a job has become narrow Perez is sad, asking to use a pseudonym for fear of immigration services.
“The American dream is nothing more than that, a dream,” he says. “The government harasses us more every day. This time the treatment is merciless. We are practically useless.”
The Devastating Consequences of Florida’s Anti-Immigration Law
According to an estimate by the think tank, 772,000 of the 22.2 million residents are undocumented migrants. Migration Policy Institute,
Many of them work in sectors essential to the state’s economy, such as agriculture, construction and hospitality.
Preventing them from doing so would have dire economic consequences, warned Florida director Samuel Vilchez. American Business Immigration Coalition A trade association that advocates for better integration of immigrants into the economy.
“It attacks our companies and prevents them from creating new jobs, generating income and providing the services they claim to offer,” Vilchez warned. “It goes against what we know is good for the economy and will have devastating effects for Florida,
The uncertainty created by the legal change already has consequences in the workplace, despite the fact that it has not yet come into force and does not require foreigners with irregular status to report their presence.
“The company I work for Many people are gone, gone from the state, There’s a lot of fear of the law,” says Altamirano (another pseudonym), a 38-year-old construction worker.
DeSantis advances an ultra-conservative agenda ahead of his presidential candidacy
Governor DeSantis, who appears set to challenge former President Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican primary, has become a figurehead of the American right promoting a very conservative agenda on issues such as education, abortion or immigration illegal.
Last week, he accused Democrat Joe Biden’s government of neglecting the United States’ southern border and, according to him, new laws as a necessary measure to reduce crime and drug trafficking linked to the arrival of undocumented immigrants. defended.
Perez and Altamirano deplore the fact that the authorities treat them like criminals and feel that they are victims of DeSantis’ personal ambitions.
The Mexican says, “All the politicians want their share of the cake and we pay the piper.” “We came to work, send money to our families, spend it here and pay taxes. It’s unfair.”
If the law prevented them from earning a living, they would have to leave Florida and start over elsewhere in the United States. Customize once more.
As of now, they have no plans to return to their countries. Many relatives depend on their remittances and, in Altamirano’s case, fear returning to Nicaragua to live under the authoritarian government of Daniel Ortega.
Perez would like the country in which he has worked so many hours to one day recognize his presence.
“For the United States of America we do not exist,” he says, but that this country “was built by people from everywhere and I am one of them.”
The key to the toughest law in the country against undocumented immigration, approved in Florida