If you or someone in your household is undocumented, you may want to think twice about that trip to Florida this year – it could land you in PRISON!
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed what many are calling Florida’s Anti-Immigration Bill.
Florida’s HB 1718/SB 1718, more commonly known as Florida’s immigration bill, or Florida’s anti-immigration bill, passed both houses of Florida’s government and is expected to become the law of the land in Florida on July 1, 2023.
The new law is a conglomerate of laws targeting those who do not have any lawful immigration status.
The most notable of these is probably Fla. Stat. § 787.07.
Transporting Undocumented Immigrants Into Florida; Human Smuggling
Fla. Stat. § 787.07 is an existing statute on human smuggling that criminalized the transportation of any individual the person knows, or should know, is illegally entering the United States from another country.
The statute has been amended and now criminalizes the knowing and willful transportation into Florida of any person who the defendant knows or reasonably should know has entered the United States in violation of law and has not been inspected for unlawful entry. The offense remains a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
The statute also increased the penalty for transporting a minor who is undocumented to a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The statute also increases the penalty to a second-degree felony if there are five or more undocumented immigrants when you cross the Florida state line or if you have a previous conviction.
There are no statutory provisions for family members, and the new “has entered” provision implies that it does not matter how long ago the person entered.
SO, IT BEGS THE QUESTION: If you drive into Florida on vacation with your undocumented spouse who is in the process of applying for lawful immigration status, are you in violation of this law? Will you be arrested?
Further, Fla. Stat. §895.02(8)(a)(27) has been amended to include human smuggling as a RICO predicate offense.
The other laws included Florida’s “Anti-Immigration Bill” are:
- Two new Florida Statutes prevent a county (Fla. Stat. § 125.0156) or municipality (§ 166.246) from funding the issuance of any identification card or document who does not show proof of lawful presence in the United States.
- Fla. Stat. § 322.033 is another new statute preventing undocumented individuals from using out-of-state driver’s licenses in the state of Florida. If an undocumented individual has a license issued by another state that is a class of license issued exclusively to undocumented immigrants who are unable to prove lawful presence, that license will not be recognized by the State of Florida and that person will be issued a citation for driving without a license.
- Fla. Stat. § 395.3027 was created to require hospitals to include a provision in its forms that requires a patient to answer whether that patient is a United States citizen or is not lawfully present in the United States.
- Fla. Stat. § 448.09 is an existing law that was amended to increase the penalties for employers who knowingly employ undocumented immigrants.
- Fla. Stat. § 448.095 has been expanded to increase an employer’s responsibility to verify the employment authorization of employees.
- Fla. Stat. § 448.09(5) targets the undocumented immigrant employee, making it a third-degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years for knowingly using false documents to obtain employment.
- Fla. Stat § 454.021(3) has been repealed and therefore the Florida Supreme Court is no longer authorized to admit DACA recipients as lawyers to the Florida Bar. (There is a grandfather provision, however.)
If you or a loved one are undocumented, if your application is taking too long, or if you are interested in learning more about your options to live and work in the United States in general, contact the experienced immigration attorneys at the Scott Law Firm today!