Life is about to change for a lot of people because of the new immigration law in Florida — and not for the better, activist groups say.
“Routine daily activities for those who cannot immediately prove United States Citizenship and lawful residency at all times may result in devastating consequences,” according to Florida travel advisories issued by immigrant advocacy organizations. “These consequences include arrest for operating a vehicle, no matter the state you are from, reduced access to healthcare services, and compromised safety.”
The advisories issued by the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) urge immigrants in Florida to be prepared for an immigration crackdown, noting that even documented immigrants need to be careful when traveling about the state. “Every county in Florida poses a heightened risk of harassment, possible detainment, and potential family separation based on racial profiling.”
Advocates warned that immigrants, including “naturalized and U.S. Citizens of African, Latin-American, Central American, Native American, Asian, and Pacific Islander descent, are not immune from heightened scrutiny, and false arrest.”
The advisories strongly recommend that at-risk immigrants in Florida be prepared for encounters with law enforcement. “Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, and personal belongings and memorize the phone number for a licensed civil liberties and/or immigration attorney.
If you have questions about how to deal with the new immigration law in Florida, call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation with an Orlando immigration attorney at the Rivas Law Firm.
Talk to an Immigration Law Defense Attorney
The new immigration law in Florida, one of the most restrictive anti-immigration laws in the country, which starts on July 1, 2023, will have a big impact on workers, businesses, and families throughout the state. Changes in the immigration policy include severe penalties for businesses that hire undocumented workers, making it a felony to transport undocumented people into Florida, and requiring the state to cooperate and assist with the enforcement of federal immigration laws. The updated Florida immigration bill invalidates out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to undocumented immigrants and requires hospitals to collect immigration status when registering patients.
Immediate Effects of the New Immigration Law in Florida
Immigrant Driver’s Licenses – Some undocumented immigrants in Florida have driver’s licenses from other states like California or Washington that don’t require proof of citizenship. When the new immigration law takes effect, these licenses will no longer be valid, and the drivers will be subject to arrest for driving without a license. Depending on the circumstances and given the increased cooperation between state, local, and federal law enforcement, such an arrest could lead to deportation.
E-Verify, Immigration, and Small Businesses – Under the new immigration policy, businesses with more than 25 employees must run all new hires through the federal E-Verify system to ensure the new employees are legally eligible to work in the United States. Any business that fails to comply is subject to escalating fines and possible loss of its business license.
Transporting Undocumented Immigrants into Florida – Driving into Florida with an undocumented immigrant will be considered a felony under the new immigration law in Florida. The crime is listed under human smuggling or human trafficking in FL Statute 787.07:
“A person who knowingly and willfully transports into this state an individual whom the person knows, or reasonably should know, has entered the United States in violation of law and has not been inspected by the Federal Government since his or her unlawful entry from another country commits a felony of the third degree.”
So driving an undocumented spouse or children back into Florida after a day trip to Georgia could bring charges of human trafficking.
Community ID – Some counties in Florida had been issuing Community IDs to undocumented immigrants to help them identify themselves to state and local authorities, banks, schools, and hospitals. These will no longer be available under the new immigration law.
A Florida Immigration Attorney Can Help
There is still a lot of uncertainty about how the new immigration law in Florida will be enforced or if there will be exceptions, and some of the terms in the new law have yet to be fully defined. And there are many ways to defend against violations of the law.
It’s best to have a relationship with an experienced and aggressive immigration attorney who knows how to challenge these types of charges. The citizenship attorneys at the Rivas Immigration Law Firm in Orlando are ready to help you. Call 407-505-6584 for a FREE consultation.