Month: May 2023

A Response to Recent Questions about the Florida Bill

The Florida law proposals have been a huge question and many have inquired regarding the specifics. While many of the specifics may still be unknown as to how it will be carried out, the general provisions are explained below.

As of May 2, 2023, Florida Senate Bill 1718 has been approved by both chambers of the Florida Legislature. With the assumption that this bill will be carried out, it intends to do the following:

  • Require business owners to use E-verify to check employee work eligibility;
  • Suspend employer licenses for unqualified workers;
  • Enhance human smuggling penalties;
  • Ban local governments from issuing identification cards; and
  • Require hospitals to collect data on immigrants without legal status.

Below are some specific provisions of the law:

Driver’s licenses and other IDs

The bill addresses the effect of driving with a driver’s license issued by another state. In some states, like in Virginia, unlawfully present immigrants are allowed to obtain a driver privilege card that allows a resident of that state to drive lawfully even if they do not have lawful status within the state. This new bill allegedly allows Florida to treat this type of license as invalid, thereby treating the license holder as if they are driving without a license. Violation of this law could result in a citation to the driver, which would be considered a misdemeanor if found guilty.

Transportation Limits

According to this proposal, a person cannot knowingly bring a person who is unlawfully present in the United States into Florida. If a person has reason to believe they are bringing someone unlawfully present in the United States into Florida, they could also be in violation of this law. Violation of this law could result in a conviction of a third-degree felony. Bringing a child into the state of Florida when it is known or should be known that the child is unlawfully present in the United States could result in a conviction of a second-degree felony.

Healthcare Requirements

This bill would also require hospitals that accept Medicaid to include a question on their intake forms that asks if a person is in the United States lawfully or unlawfully. Hospitals must then submit a quarterly report each quarter stating how many people were admitted to the hospital that reported their status as unlawfully present.

Employment Considerations

Lastly, this bill would affect a person who knowingly employs a person who does not have authorization to work in the United States. If an employer knowingly employs a person without legal authorization to work in the United States, that employer can be subjected to a fine. Public employers must verify an employee’s eligibility to work within three business days after the employee begins working. Private employers with 25 or more employees are also subjected to this requirement.

Any person with any pending immigration application or petition before the USCIS or the Immigration Court should be cautious when traveling anywhere and should contact their attorney if they have any questions. This summary is intended to provide guidance but not legal advice. Contact your attorney for more information.

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