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Florida mandates hospitals to inquire about patients’ immigration status from July 01
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Florida mandates hospitals to inquire about patients’ immigration status from July 01.
One of the strictest immigration laws in US history is now in effect in Florida as of July 1.
The main provisions of SB1718 include:
1. Florida declares out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to undocumented immigrants invalid.
2. Hospitals and healthcare facilities that receive medical assistance will now be required to inquire about patients’ immigration status.
3. Individuals intentionally transporting undocumented immigrants into the state will face felony charges.
4. Employers hiring undocumented workers will be targeted.
This plan can be described as a comprehensive effort to drive undocumented immigrants out of Florida, as it prohibits businesses from hiring individuals without legal status and landlords from renting properties to undocumented immigrants.
Individuals may be stopped by the police and asked for their immigration status while walking on the streets, and even at hospitals, they will be asked about their immigration status. If they lack legal status, they may be transferred to another state even after receiving medical treatment.
Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor and a presidential candidate for the 2024 election, stated that this law increases the penalties for human trafficking and illegal immigration.
However, Alvaro Zabaleta, spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Police Department, expressed concerns:
“Our main concern is that residents may be afraid to report abuse or sexual assault. We are here to maintain community security, not to approach you and demand documents. That’s not our responsibility.”
Yet, on the day before this law went into effect, Zabaleta admitted that the police department is still awaiting guidance from Florida law enforcement agencies on how to handle cases of undocumented immigrants driving with valid out-of-state licenses.
Refusing to recognize non-resident driver’s licenses
Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
For example, in California, undocumented immigrants can apply for an AB60 driver’s license, which allows California residents, regardless of their immigration status, to apply for an official driver’s license valid for driving in the state.
The signing dates and provisions for some states are as follows:
However, now Florida refuses to recognize these “green light” licenses!
Starting from July 1, Florida implemented a new policy that prohibits undocumented immigrants from using out-of-state licenses to drive motor vehicles in Florida.
Violators will be treated as unlicensed drivers. Driving without a license in Florida is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500.
Mandatory hospital inquiries about patient identity
According to the new legislation, hospitals receiving medical assistance must inquire about the immigration status of patients before admitting them.
They are also required to submit all relevant documents to the Agency for Health Care Administration, which will use these documents to calculate the cost of providing uncompensated care to undocumented individuals residing in Florida each year.
Supporters of this law argue that it will help prevent future illegal immigration and assist those who legally reside in the state.
However, doctors in Florida have openly opposed this practice, stating that it may deter people from seeking treatment until their conditions become life-threatening. This not only puts people in danger but also increases the healthcare costs for the country.
Employers must verify employee identity
To combat the employment of undocumented workers, SB 1718 mandates that employers with 25 or more employees use E-Verify to check the legal status of their workers.
Employers who fail to use E-Verify will face a daily fine of $1,000. For workers, using fraudulent identification documents to seek employment will be considered a felony.
This may pose a significant problem for Florida, as the state already faces widespread labor shortages.
The Florida Policy Institute estimates that Florida has over 770,000 undocumented immigrants. If there were no undocumented workers, the state’s most labor-intensive industries would “lose 10% of their workforce and the wages that come with it.”
This could lead to a $12.6 billion (approximately 1.1%) decline in Florida’s GDP within a year, thereby weakening workers’ purchasing power and reducing state and local tax revenues.
Furthermore, SB 1718 prohibits local governments from funding so-called community identification cards.
These community ID cards allow individuals who are unable to obtain state-issued identification to have proof of identity for purposes such as picking up children from school, opening bank accounts, accessing gated communities, or obtaining healthcare.
The legislation also requires Florida law enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples from undocumented immigrants detained in federal immigration detention centers. The use of this DNA information is unknown.
Florida will allocate $12 million to transfer immigrants to other states.
According to data from the Immigration Policy Institute, an estimated 772,000 undocumented immigrants resided in Florida in 2019. Currently, a large number of undocumented immigrants are fleeing Florida, with the construction, farming, and domestic services industries being the most affected.
These industries are where undocumented immigrants are concentrated, so in the short term, this policy will have a significant impact, especially on the domestic services industry. As Florida is a retirement state for Americans, it requires a large number of domestic workers. Legally present individuals may not be willing to engage in certain strenuous jobs, but undocumented immigrants fill this gap.
However, some experts analyze that the actual impact may not be as significant. Many individuals, although lacking legal status, have obtained work permits through programs such as asylum and also have Social Security numbers, allowing them to work legally. The proportion of workers who truly have no identity and can only receive cash payments each month is relatively small.
(source:internets/tV6fjCJvDyR9pQoHQ2ukHw, reference only)