Immigration policy Title 42 ends, Senate Bill 1718 will bring new rules to Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs new immigration bill

FLORIDA – There will be new rules under Senate Bill 1718 for people in Florida who come into the country illegally. Those new rules will take effect in two months.

Governor DeSantis says the new laws are needed due to the end of a federal rule, known as Title 42 -- that allowed people trying to get into the country to wait at the border of their country. Title 42 ended at midnight Friday and some people believe they can now enter the country without waiting -- but that’s not true.

A local immigration attorney says these changes will have a ripple effect on everything from the food we eat to homes built in the sunshine state.

The changes begin on July first, and immigration attorney, Michelle Fanger, thinks people who are not U.S. citizens may not realize the changes could indirectly affect them, while some businesses support the changes Senate Bill 1718 will bring.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1718, saying, “We’ve got massive problems at our southern border with Mexico.”

DeSantis believes that President Biden hasn’t responded appropriately on the federal level to address immigration concerns, so he has SB 1718 on the state level.

Beginning July first, the new law will:

  • Require business owners to use E-verify to check employee work eligibility
  • Suspend employer licenses for unqualified workers
  • Human smuggling penalties enhanced
  • Bans local governments from issuing identification cards
  • Requires hospitals to collect data on immigrants without legal status

Senate Bill 1718 is supported by local businessman, Henry Brown.

“We want to know that the people we are hiring, whether native born or born abroad, are here legally,” Brown, CEO of Miller Electric, said. “We are thankful E-verify checks the citizenship or immigration status of every person we hire.”

Brown says he believes the new rules will help with keeping local businesses honest.

Fanger says even though Title 42 ended, people trying to get into the country still have to follow a procedure and can’t just cross through the American border. However, Fanger says SB 1718 will have a negative effect on Florida’s economy.

“It will have a major impact on immigration because it’s really to me, it’s very restrictive,” Fanger said. “It does not give any benefits, much to individuals that don’t have legal status, because basically it is saying if you come here you have to stay in the shadows.”

Fanger believes it will impact multiple Florida industries as undocumented workers are fired from work.

When asked what industries she thinks will be most impacted by State Bill 1718, Fanger said, “Based on my opinion, the construction industry, agriculture will have a major impact and also restaurants because those hire, though we don’t like to admit it, a large group of individuals who don’t have documents.”

Fanger then asked, “If you don’t have these individuals to work, who is going to do the job?”

For now, the state and its workers have seven months to adjust to the new rules.

Before July first, business owners who have hired people who are undocumented could be audited.

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