Florida’s New Immigration Laws Summarized: Statute by Statute
Florida’s new immigration laws, which went into effect on July 1, 2023, are some of the strictest in the country. The new immigration laws make a number of changes to state policy.
Statute 1: E-Verify Requirements
Florida law now requires all private employers with 25 or more employees to use E-Verify to verify the immigration status of new hires. E-Verify is a free online system that allows employers to compare an employee’s information to government records to confirm that they are authorized to work in the United States.
- Employers who fail to use E-Verify may be subject to fines and penalties, including up to $3,200 per employee for a first offense and up to $10,000 per employee for subsequent offenses.
- Employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants may also be subject to criminal charges.
Statute 2: Out-of-State Driver’s Licenses
Under the new law, undocumented immigrants are prohibited from driving in Florida using out-of-state driver’s licenses. Undocumented immigrants who are caught driving with an out-of-state license will be issued a citation and their vehicle may be impounded.
- Undocumented immigrants who rely on driving to get to work or school may be forced to find alternative transportation, which can be costly and time-consuming.
- The new law may also make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to access essential services, such as medical care and grocery stores.
Statute 3: Human Smuggling
The new law also increases penalties for human smuggling. A person who is convicted of human smuggling in Florida now faces a third-degree felony charge, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.
- The increased penalties for human smuggling are intended to deter individuals and organizations from engaging in this illegal activity.
- The new law may also make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to enter the United States illegally, as smugglers may be less likely to risk prosecution.
- However, the increased penalties may also have a chilling effect on legitimate travel and migration, as people may be afraid to travel to or from the United States for fear of being accused of human smuggling.
Statute 4: Public Benefits
The new law also restricts undocumented immigrants’ access to public benefits. Undocumented immigrants are now ineligible to receive food stamps, Medicaid, and other public benefits, except for emergency medical care.
- Undocumented immigrants who are ineligible for public benefits may face difficulty meeting their basic needs, such as food and healthcare.
Statute 5: State Cooperation with Federal Immigration Enforcement
The new law also requires Florida law enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement agencies. This means that state law enforcement officers may now detain undocumented immigrants who are suspected of committing crimes and transfer them to federal immigration authorities for deportation.
- The new law is likely to increase the number of undocumented immigrants who are deported from Florida.
- The new law may also make undocumented immigrants more reluctant to report crimes to the police, as they may fear being deported.
- The new law may also have a chilling effect on undocumented immigrants’ participation in civic life, as they may be afraid of being deported if they interact with law enforcement or government agencies.
The Espinoza Law Offices: Why Professional Legal Assistance Matters
Change is inevitable, but with change comes challenges. The new immigration laws in Florida might seem overwhelming, but with the right guidance, they can be navigated efficiently. Espinoza Law Offices, a beacon for many in Lakeland and Tampa Bay, offers comprehensive assistance tailored to individual needs.
So, whether you’re looking to establish a business in the heart of Florida, bring a loved one closer, or defend your right to stay, know that there’s an avenue for you. Don’t venture into these waters alone. Let our immigration lawyer near Tampa Bay be your compass. Reach out to us today and set a course for a brighter tomorrow in the Sunshine State.