Together with strong border security, enforcement of immigration laws and swift processing of undocumented immigrants, compassionate immigration reform must be a priority. This must be realized for the benefit of Dreamers and legal refugees seeking admission to the U.S. with action plans to address the underlying causes in Latin America and other troubled world regions driving immigrants to the southern borders of the United States.

    Republicans oppose comprehensive immigration reform citing the threat of both legal and illegal immigrants (charging that it constitutes the Great Replacement Theory to favor non-white minorities). Republicans place particular importance on border security and deportations of immigrants who are in the country illegally, while Democrats place greater importance on paths to legal status for those who entered the country illegally – especially those who entered as children.

In 2023, the Florida GOP governor and GOP majority in the legislature enacted SB 1718 which created new challenges for immigrants in Florida::

  • Bars local government from providing funding to issue community IDs to persons who do not prove lawful presence in the U.S.
  • Invalidates out-of-state driver licenses that are issued without being required to show proof of lawful presence in the U.S. (i.e. driver licenses that are issued to individuals who are undocumented or who cannot prove lawful presence).
  • Makes it a crime to drive in Florida with this type of license.
  • Requires hospitals and emergency departments that receive Medicaid to ask patients about their immigration status.
  • Penalizes employers for failing to verify employment authorization and criminalizes noncitizens who use false identification documents to obtain work.
  • Requires all employers to verify new employees’ work authorization, and require private employers who employ 25 or more employees to use E-Verify to confirm new employees’ work authorization.
  • Beginning on November 1, 2028, SB 1718 prevents DACA holders from being admitted by the Supreme Court of Florida to practice law in Florida.
  • Makes it a felony to transport into the state of Florida a person who you know or reasonably should know (1) entered the U.S. unlawfully; and (2) has not been inspected by the federal government.

The effect of the new law is to scare the undocumented immigrant community and drive them to leave the state of Florida. Most of them have become essential workers for Florida’s agricultural, construction, and hospitality sectors. These sectors are the main drivers of the Florida economy and the absence of this workforce is causing major disruptions for businesses who rely on them as a source of labor.