Florida’s immigration legislation delivers major unintended outcomes, critics say

Tampa, Florida — Raquel Lopez Aguilar — a Mexican father of two who is in the state illegally — was performing as a roofer in the Tampa location right until he was billed with smuggling underneath Florida’s controversial new immigration law.

“I believe that it will be complicated to establish the human smuggling element of this scenario,” Mark Arias, an attorney for Aguilar, advised reporters. “This is a brand name new regulation.”

Aguilar is experiencing four felony counts for driving a team of roofers in a do the job van from a career in Ga, along with a misdemeanor rely of driving without a valid license.

The new sweeping immigration legislation, signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in May of 2022, prohibits anybody from transporting illegal immigrants into the condition.

Between other limits, the legislation imposes penalties on Florida companies that employ undocumented immigrants, and needs a citizenship issue on affected person kinds for hospitals that accept Medicare. Under the regulation, Florida also no more time acknowledges drivers’ licenses issued to undocumented immigrants from other states.

“This is the strongest legislation against illegal immigration everywhere in the region,” DeSantis mentioned at the time of the signing.

But soon after Hurricane Idalia devastated parts of the condition in August, some businesses say the regulation created a employee scarcity, slowing Florida’s recovery.

Rogelio Rauda, an undocumented employee from Honduras executing building in Crystal River, Florida, states only 8 staff he appreciates arrived to the disaster zone out of the hundreds he says commonly show up.

“The concern is that another person is heading to quit you, ask for your papers, and that you could be deported,” Rauda mentioned.

Tim Conlan, who runs a roofing business in Jacksonville, said the exact same craze is also going on exterior disaster zones.
 
“Historically, while, we’ve experienced a lot of crews,” Conlan reported. “In the previous year our crew count has been cut in 50 %.”

The legislation necessitates businesses like his, with 25 or far more employees, to verify employees’ lawful position as a result of a database identified as E-Verify.  He states it really is cumbersome and places him at a drawback with more compact roofers who you should not have that necessity.

“I am not a fan of open borders,” Conlan said. “But I am a lover of putting folks to operate in this group who are contributing to the community. There is received to be a way to get them into this procedure in which they get paid out a truthful wage, and they pay their fair taxes, and all people receives back again to operate.”

— Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.

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