Changes To Immigration Laws In Florida

Changes To Immigration Laws In FloridaAs the world’s borders become non-existent with increased connectivity, new Florida legislation effective July 1, 2023 brings a wave of changes in the State’s approach to immigration. The laws affect immigrants within the state as well as employers and businesses.

The new Florida immigration law include the following key changes:

  • The law makes it “human smuggling” and a felony for a person to knowingly and willfully transport into Florida an individual, including a minor, whom the person knows, or reasonably should know, has entered the United States in violation of law and who has not been inspected by federal immigration authorities since entry. Pursuant to this provision, a lawful permanent resident parent who transports into Florida her child who has not been inspected would be chargeable with a second-degree felony (up to 15 years in prison). The law does NOT criminalize: living with, sheltering, or renting space to family, friends, or other individuals who are undocumented; concealing, harboring, or shielding from detection undocumented individuals; or transporting undocumented individuals within the state.
  • Permits and identification documents regarding motor vehicles issued by other states identifying the holder as “undocumented” are now invalid within Florida. Visitors from outside the country are not affected by this law if they hold a valid permit or license from their home country. (F.S. 322.033; 322.04)
  • Hospitals that accept Medicaid are now required to collect data regarding all patients’ immigration status. The law states that the status will not affect patient treatment or result in the reporting to immigration authorities. (F.S. 395.3027). Patients may decline to answer any questions regarding immigration status.
  • Effective Nov. 1, 2028, repeals statutory provision allowing DACA recipients and certain other undocumented individuals to be admitted to the Florida Bar but does not affect the validity of any license to practice law issued pursuant to that subsection before November 1, 2028.

If you need help with an immigration matter, it can be overwhelming, and be hard to even know where to start looking for help or what options are available. Our attorneys at HAWM Law are ready, experienced and committed to helping immigrants at any stage of the US immigration process. You do not have to struggle through this process alone.

With respect to businesses and employers, the law also imposes stricter requirements and punishments:

  • Beginning on July 1, 2023, requires employers to verify each new employee’s employment eligibility within three business days after the first day the new employee begins working for pay.
  • Requires private employers with 25 or more employees, or any employer, regardless of size, doing business with the State, to use E-Verify for all new employees and retain a copy of the documentation provided for E-Verify as well as the official verification generated E-Verify for at least three years.
  • Beginning July 1, 2024, state law enforcement agencies are authorized to perform random audits of businesses for compliance with employment verification obligations;
  • Imposes $1,000 per day fine on employers found to have failed to use E-Verify three times in a 24-month period, until the employer provides proof that the noncompliance is cured. Noncompliance also constitutes grounds for the suspension of all state business licenses until the noncompliance is cured. A violation of the rule results in one-year probation with the Department of Economic Opportunity. If the employer has another violation within 24 months of the prior violation, there could be suspension or revocation of any or all licenses provided or required by the state. (F.S. 448.09). For any migrants that are caught violating this law penalties range from a fine of up to $5,000 or 15 years in prison.

As the laws take effect, the impact on immigration and migrants has already hit Florida’s economy hard with undocumented workers in the agricultural and hospitality sectors fleeing the state for more immigrant friendly safe havens. The impact to the Florida economy is yet to be seen.

HAWM Law’s Orlando Immigration Lawyers are Here for You
Trust HAWM Law to provide guidance and support throughout your immigration journey. Call us today or click HERE to schedule a consultation.

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