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What You Need to Know About Florida Senate Bill 1718

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2023 | Immigration Law

People across the country are up in arms about Florida Senate Bill 1718 that was recently signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. The bill is expected to go into effect on July 1st, 2023. This bill poses a lot of concerns for not only undocumented immigrants and their families but anyone who interacts with them as well. This post will cover some of the basics so our community can understand what it is and how it can impact us.

Requirements Under SB1718

Florida Senate Bill 1718 poses new restrictions for undocumented immigrants from living, working, and traveling within the state and poses threats of a criminal conviction and fines for failure to comply. Here are some of the main points contained within the bill:

  • State and local law enforcement must enter into agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.
  • Prohibits sanctuary policies and requires compliance with federal immigration laws.
  • Certain employers will be required to participate in the E-Verify program, verifying an individual’s eligibility to work in the U.S. and imposing fines on those who fail to do so.
  • State funds are prohibited from being used to aid undocumented immigrants.
  • Establishes penalties for employers who knowingly hire unauthorized immigrants and requires the creation of a database of such employers.
  • Hospitals are required to ask patients whether they’re lawfully in the country and to collect and report on that data.
  • Criminalizes sheltering, supporting, or transporting undocumented immigrants across Florida’s border
  • Driver’s licenses from other states created specifically to permit undocumented immigrants to drive will no longer be valid in Florida.

Main Takeaway

Immigration law is constantly evolving. This makes it very unpredictable, but that unpredictability can also be harnessed for positive outcomes. Opponents of the bill warn that it will have catastrophic effects on the Florida economy and its reputation. There’s a strong possibility that this bill will face legal challenges that alter or block its implementation.

It’s important to know that if you have a valid work visa, you’re still allowed to live and work within the U.S. and no amount of profiling can take that away from you. For those impacted directly by SB 1718, remember that everyone’s situation is unique, and don’t make hasty decisions that may impact your immigration case. What may not have been possible just a few short years ago may now be possible due to changes in law and policies. Revisiting your case with an immigration attorney is your best course of action, right now.

The bill itself serves as a reminder that there is real strength in community and we have the power to change things for the better. There are still legal avenues available for people who wish to stay in the U.S. At Rotella & Hernandez, we can provide guidance on the best course of action to protect your rights and your future in the U.S. For a consultation, call our office at 305-596-3618.