Last month, a new law went into effect that can affect undocumented workers’ ability to earn a living in the state. The Florida governor signed CS/CS/SB 1718 (2023) into law earlier this year and the changes went into effect last month.
The text of the bill states, in part, that cities and counties were prohibited from paying monies to anyone who failed to “provide proof of [their] lawful presence” here in the USA. It went on to forbid accepting out-of-state driver’s licenses issued elsewhere to undocumented individuals and even forces some hospitals to gather their patients’ immigration status during admission and registration.
A chilling effect on business communities
The law also penalizes businesses suspected of employing undocumented workers by “requir[ing] repayment of certain economic development incentives” that they may have had if they are reported for violating the new law.
The new law creates labor roadblocks for undocumented workers from the crop fields to the courtrooms, as it includes a provision to repeal a law permitting undocumented immigrants to practice law in Florida.
What will be the consequences?
It is conceivable that undocumented workers will face some legal hurdles from this latest assault on their right to earn a living wage. The governor’s plan to drive undocumented workers from the state can force these workers into breaking laws simply to be able to provide for their families. Unless and until there are some significant changes in the political climate, undocumented workers should remain abreast of these changes and how they might affect them and their ability to legally earn a living here in Florida.