By Brenda De La Cruz
The New Florida Immigration bill is outright xenophobic and should serve as foreshadowing of what is to come should Governor Ron DeSantis run for presidency.
Two weeks ago, DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1718 in his effort to fight against illegal immigration.
He plans to do this by enforcing an E-Verify method for any company with 25 or more employees, thus allowing him to then penalize employers if they employ any undocumented workers. Anyone caught employing undocumented individuals may face fines and be charged with a felony.
SB 1718 appears to focus on deterring any person who is undocumented from settling down in the ‘sunshine state’ by not allowing them to obtain identification cards, and invalidates those ID cards from other US states.
It goes even further and gathers information from hospitals in order to determine the cost undocumented immigrants bring to the state from health care services received.
Gathering information on medical visits will only increase fear in those this bill targets.
If medical services are being looked at, then DeSantis should also look into other populations who overuse emergency room services for non-medical reasons, costing the state lots of money.
According to homelessvoice.org, as of 2022, Florida has the third highest homeless population in the nation with just under 26,000 unhoused individuals counted.
Many times, homeless individuals seek ER services to get away from the harsh weather outside, or to avoid sleeping on concrete and risk being assaulted. While these are sad situations, these beds should be used for people with actual medical emergencies.
It seems DeSantis does not truly care about the cost undocumented immigrants bring to the healthcare system, but cares more about finding ways to push them out.
When looking into invalidating other state-issued ID’s and not allowing for Florida state ID’s to be issued as well, the state then risks people driving without identification.
Perhaps this is wanted in order for law enforcement to apprehend drivers and penalize them, despite the fact that they are being told they will not be given ID’s.
How will these individuals get to work each day? There’s the catch, because now they can’t work in the state for fear of being charged with a felony and more than likely being deported.
Many immigrants leave their countries and head to the U.S. in search of a better life.
This bill not only prevents them from trying to make an honest living, but it also jeopardizes their well-being in this country and can easily send them back to a country that may be dangerous for them.SB 1718 is just the start.
If other states begin to adopt this type of rhetoric toward immigrants, mostly Hispanic and Latino, many long-term residents, including students, may be affected.
An earlier version of the bill stated it would prohibit anyone from living with or harboring undocumented immigrants, although that was later left out.
If something similar begins to happen in California, or any state for that matter, many Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students could be affected.
Paint it however you want, but in the end SB 1718 is singling out a specific population in hopes of ridding them by any means necessary.
This has the potential to crash the state’s economy as so many labor jobs are filled by the same people they are trying to shun.