Harsh Immigration Law in Florida Leads to Decline in Labor Force

harsh immigration law in florida leads to decline in labor force

harsh immigration law in florida leads to decline in labor force

Last updated on July 7th, 2023 at 06:30 am

Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, recently signed a new immigration law that has ignited debate and significantly reduced the labor force in the state. The measure, which is one of the strictest immigration regulations in the nation, levies heavy fines on undocumented workers and the companies who hire them. Since the law’s adoption on July 1, there have been indications of a notable decline in the number of workers available across several industries, including construction. 

The Key Provisions of the Law

The immigration bill went into effect on July 1 after being signed by Republican leader and prospective 2024 presidential candidate Governor Ron DeSantis. Several significant parts of the bill have come under fire from both observers and activists. First, it makes it a third-degree felony for undocumented immigrants to use fraudulent identification for employment. Additionally, companies who knowingly hire undocumented workers or neglect to use the E-Verify system risk revoking their licenses or paying fines of up to $1000. Additionally, the bill invalidates driver’s licenses issued to undocumented immigrants from neighboring states and requires hospitals that take Medicaid to confirm patients’ immigration status.

Decline in Florida’s Labor Force

The new law has substantially affected Florida’s labor force, particularly in sectors that depend significantly on immigrant labor. According to The Wall Street Journal, several businesses in Miami’s thriving construction sector have reduced employment by up to 25% since the law went into effect. The well-known construction firm Coastal Construction, which has many active projects around the state, saw the effects on job sites and expressed worry about the law’s potential effects.

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The American Business Immigration Coalition’s Florida director, Samuel Vilchez Santiago, estimates that about 400,000 unauthorized immigrants are currently working in the state. Santiago stressed the pressing need for workers and expressed concern that the new law would severely harm Florida’s labor market.

Reactions and Controversies

As a result of the new immigration law’s harsh provisions and probable effects on immigrant communities, migrant rights organizations and activists have protested against it. In response, Governor DeSantis’ administration issued a statement warning that companies who take advantage of the predicament by hiring undocumented immigrants rather than Floridians would face repercussions.

Despite Florida’s thriving Latin American immigrant communities, Governor DeSantis has established himself as a staunch opponent of immigration reform. He toured the US-Mexico border while running for president and blamed the Biden administration’s actions for any security issues. Many of former President Donald Trump’s divisive immigration policies, including keeping migrant families in detention for more extended periods of time, finishing the border wall, and eliminating the practice of releasing migrants into the US while their immigration court cases are ongoing, were among the proposals he made.

Florida’s labor force has significantly decreased due to the new immigration law that Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law, especially in sectors that depend largely on immigrant workers. The harsh fines and elements of the law that target undocumented immigrants and the companies that hire them have generated debate and demonstrations. While Governor DeSantis has positioned himself as an ardent opponent of immigration, many contend that the law will have disastrous effects on Florida’s job market. The long-term effects of this act on Florida’s immigrant populations and economy are still up for discussion and concern.

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