Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) just signed into law a major bill to crack down on illegal immigration in the Sunshine State, according to the Washington Examiner.
The new law, which is arguably among the toughest state-level immigration laws, will among other things go after companies that employ illegal immigrants, impose severe penalties on human traffickers, and expand the program to voluntarily transport illegal immigrants to self-proclaimed "sanctuary" cities and states.
According to a press release from the Florida governor's office, DeSantis signed into law a bill known as SB 1718 on Wednesday during a ceremony in the city of Jacksonville.
"The Biden Border Crisis has wreaked havoc across the United States and has put Americans in danger," DeSantis said in a statement. "In Florida, we will not stand idly by while the federal government abandons its lawful duties to protect our country."
"The legislation I signed today gives Florida the most ambitious anti-illegal immigration laws in the country, fighting back against reckless federal government policies and ensuring the Florida taxpayers are not footing the bill for illegal immigration," he added.
Joining the governor was State Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, who said, "Our Southern Border has been dealing with a manmade crisis under the ineptness of President Biden, allowing more than 6.3 million illegal immigrants to flood our border."
"Today, under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida made history signing into law the strongest state-led anti-illegal immigration bill ever brought forth," the lawmaker added. "It was an honor to usher this bill through the process, knowing we are safeguarding Floridians and serving as the model for the nation to combat this crisis created by our very own President."
The new law, which takes effect on July 1, will require that all Florida-based companies with more than 25 employees to use the E-Verify system when hiring new employees, and includes penalties such as fines and the possible suspension or revocation of licenses for employers who fail to comply or knowingly continue to employee illegal migrants.
The law will also bar local cities and counties from issuing IDs to illegal migrants and the state will no longer recognize as valid any IDs from other states that are given to illegal migrants, while also making the use of false IDs by illegal migrants to gain employment a third-degree felony.
Additionally, the law cracks down on smugglers and human traffickers by increasing the penalty for those caught trafficking more than five illegal migrant adults or just one illegal migrant child, with the new penalty for that crime being a second-degree felony that can result in a 15-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine, as well as being prosecutable under Florida's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.
On top of that, all hospitals in Florida that receive Medicaid funds will now be required to ask all patients whether or not they are a U.S. citizen or lawful resident. Those hospitals will be further required to submit quarterly reports to the state with that information as part of an effort to determine the overall costs to taxpayers of medical care provided to illegal migrants.
Finally, the new law allocates an additional $12 million to the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program, which moves illegal migrants from Florida to various "sanctuary" jurisdictions around the country, such as Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, as was seen last year.
President Biden’s dereliction of duty at the border is costing Americans their lives. In Florida, we’ve taken concrete action to protect our communities by:
- Relocating illegal aliens to sanctuary cities in other states
- Enforcing E-Verify
- Establishing a task force to… pic.twitter.com/DCU6YUBxFT
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 10, 2023
Gov. DeSantis and the state of Florida will undoubtedly face heavy criticism and even possible legal challenges from Democrats and the media over this new law, but given the Biden administration's lax enforcement of existing border security and immigration laws, such state-level efforts have unfortunately become very necessary.