For Immediate release: May 02, 2023

Anti-Immigrant Legislation Passes the State House

TALLAHASSEE – Today, the Florida House used its supermajority muscle to adopt and pass SB 1718 on the House floor. With that vote, this discriminatory and potentially unconstitutional legislation whose sole purpose is to strike fear into Florida’s immigrant communities has now passed both chambers and will be going to the governor for a signature.

This legislation:

  • Requires employers with over 25 employees to use E-verify to determine employment eligibility, making it a felony to use false identification to obtain eligibility and allowing for license revocation or considerable fines if an employer violates the E-verify requirements four times in a 24-month period, limiting access to jobs for people who have unregulated immigration statuses.
  • Forces hospitals that accept Medicaid and emergency departments to collect data on the immigration status of patients including when visiting the emergency room, and to regularly report on the cost of care provided to patients without a regulated immigration status to AHCA and the legislature.
  • Makes transporting people who are without a regulated immigration status into the state of Florida a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. This includes charging you with a felony for coming back into the state of Florida when you live here permanently. It also includes coming into the state for tourism or business meetings with friends, co-workers, or family without a regulated immigration status.
  • Prohibits funding for community ID programs at the city and county levels.
  • Invalidates driver's licenses legally issued by 16 states and the District of Columbia to drivers without a regulated immigration status. 
  • Establishes that the Chief of Domestic Security will coordinate immigration enforcement actions in Florida. 
  • Repeals the law allowing lawyers who are still regulating their immigration status from practicing law. 
  • Requires law enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples from people who do not possess a regulated immigration status and are detained under a federal detainer request. 

In response to the passing of this legislation in the Senate, Florida Immigrant Coalition Executive Director Tessa Petit said,

“Throughout this legislative session, the legislators in the majority have sought to use our communities as political scapegoats in their relentless quest to advance party-line political ambitions. This legislation seeks to create a false border between Florida and the rest of the United States. It is meant to criminalize folks still going through the complicated immigration process and their families, and friends for visiting the state.  It will limit access to our renowned healthcare providers for those seeking lifesaving cancer or cardiovascular care. Its only purpose and result will be to increase the intentional divide in our communities. It is not meant to provide the protection they claim, and will not provide a solution to the broken federal immigration system. The border crisis is fear-mongering propaganda being used as an excuse to increase government overreach. Instead of addressing the pressing issues of us Floridians, the supermajority legislators are trying to change Florida from one that is welcoming, that believes in lifting up those in need of support, into a hateful segregated state. We say that no amount of hateful and discriminatory rhetoric from this legislature can break our resolve to continue to advocate and fight for a future where all who call our state home can live without fear and with the security of knowing they are loved and accepted.”

Renata Bozzetto, Deputy Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said,

“It’s negligent that a bill with so many problems and with an incredible potential for harm was fast-tracked and all amendments rejected. It’s also sad and very telling that during the only one House committee hearing, everyone who came to testify from all corners of our state, testified against it and the bill still passed along party lines. This is not a red or blue issue, this is a human issue. Floridians of all stripes showed their contempt for this bill and still, we were all ignored. We will continue to fight for our diverse communities and to live the values of the true Florida way: being welcoming, neighborly, and supportive of all who call Florida home.”

Adriana Rivera