Florida’s immigration law delivers significant unintended outcomes, critics say

Tampa, Florida — Raquel Lopez Aguilar — a Mexican father of two who is in the region illegally — was working as a roofer in the Tampa area right up until he was billed with smuggling below Florida’s controversial new immigration law.

“I imagine that it will be difficult to prove the human smuggling aspect of this circumstance,” Mark Arias, an attorney for Aguilar, advised reporters. “This is a brand name new legislation.”

Aguilar is facing 4 felony counts for driving a team of roofers in a work van from a task in Ga, alongside with a misdemeanor rely of driving without a legitimate license.

The new sweeping immigration legislation, signed into legislation by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Might of 2022, prohibits any person from transporting unlawful immigrants into the condition.

Among other limits, the law imposes penalties on Florida organizations that employ undocumented immigrants, and requires a citizenship dilemma on affected individual kinds for hospitals that acknowledge Medicare. Under the regulation, Florida also no for a longer time recognizes drivers’ licenses issued to undocumented immigrants from other states.

“This is the strongest legislation from illegal immigration anyplace in the place,” DeSantis mentioned at the time of the signing.

But right after Hurricane Idalia devastated pieces of the point out in August, some enterprises say the law made a employee shortage, slowing Florida’s restoration.

Rogelio Rauda, an undocumented worker from Honduras doing building in Crystal River, Florida, claims only eight workers he knows arrived to the catastrophe zone out of the hundreds he states usually exhibit up.

“The anxiety is that somebody is heading to prevent you, question for your papers, and that you could be deported,” Rauda reported.

Tim Conlan, who runs a roofing company in Jacksonville, said the exact same trend is also occurring exterior catastrophe zones.
 
“Traditionally, although, we’ve had lots of crews,” Conlan said. “In the previous 12 months our crew rely has been lower in fifty percent.”

The legislation requires corporations like his, with 25 or a lot more employees, to verify employees’ lawful standing by a databases identified as E-Confirm.  He claims it can be cumbersome and puts him at a downside with smaller sized roofers who you should not have that prerequisite.

“I am not a admirer of open up borders,” Conlan reported. “But I am a enthusiast of putting men and women to perform in this community who are contributing to the community. There is bought to be a way to get them into this process the place they get paid a truthful wage, and they pay back their honest taxes, and most people gets back again to work.”

— Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.

Sherri Crump

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