Proponents of a bill in the Florida Senate claim it will tighten down on immigrant smuggling and other laws that help migrants and stop advantages that encourage illegal immigration to the state.
Republican state senator Blaise Ingoglia said on Tuesday that people don’t want to become legal citizens when there are so many benefits out there, which he claims are incentives for people to cross the border illegally. At the same time, Ingoglia marked up his recommendations before the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy passed the proposals.
SB 1718, authored by Ingoglia, is similar to proposals made by Governor Ron DeSantis in February; it would remove incentives and create criminal penalties for several crimes, some of which affect immigrants.
People in the United States are kind, but this generosity, according to Ingoglia, has created incentives that encourage illegal immigration. This law eliminates as many incentives as possible, expecting other states to follow Texas’s and Arizona’s lead and compel the federal government to act.
If passed, the bill would not apply to all undocumented workers. Those who came across the border illegally but were apprehended by the Border Patrol will not be affected by the legislation, as they will be waiting for court proceedings that may not occur for years. However, those who crossed the border illegally but eluded law enforcement and have no record of arrest or parole will be.
On Tuesday, Senator Ingoglia and others expressed uncertainty about how the plan would affect visa overstayers and recipients of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for undocumented youth.
The bill will be discussed and voted on in the Senate before being sent back to the House. If passed, the bill would become law before DeSantis is likely to announce his candidacy for president in 2024, a significant victory for the politician who claims the idea is the nation’s greatest safeguard against illegal immigration.
While marking up the bill in the House on Monday, lawmakers responded to a concern raised by religious groups. The original House Bill made smuggling immigrants into or through Florida a crime. Religious leaders have voiced concern that this clause could lead to the arrest of church workers or members who illegally transport minors to church events.
Smuggling immigrants in Florida is illegal, and this bill increases the consequences for doing so, especially for those under the age of 18.
As part of the law, $22 million is set aside for Florida to use on busing illegal immigrants out of the state. On Tuesday, Ingoglia announced that the bill, initially including $12 million, had been amended to include $10 million this year and $12 million next year.
As a result of the law, at least one million illegal immigrants in California will be unable to use their driver’s licenses in Florida. Voters in Florida will have to verify their citizenship status, and municipal governments will no longer be able to provide local identification cards to illegal immigrants.
The rule also penalizes companies that recruit people without legal status or with fake documents and prevents illegal immigrants from acquiring a license to practice law.
Additionally, the bill mandates that hospitals accepting Medicaid funds ask patients whether or not they are in the country illegally, stipulating that no one will be denied care or reported to federal immigration officials.
Nonetheless, the state government will have access to the information. According to Ingoglia, this measure will help states manage emergency room costs for illegal immigrants.