As we reach the halfway of Florida’s legislative session, observers are expecting a series of immigration reforms to pass in the coming weeks.
Spearheaded by proposals from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the reform package is expected to be one of the most conservative in the country.
“We need to do everything in our power to protect the people of Florida from what’s going on at the border,” DeSantis said at a press conference in February announcing his series of proposals.
Under the policies, proposed policies:
- Anyone who hires, transports, and shelters an undocumented immigrant could face felony charges.
- Any out-of-state driver’s license issued to an undocumented immigrant would be invalidated in the Sunshine state.
- Hospitals would be required to ask patients their immigration status and report to the state.
DeSantis says he is fighting back against what he calls President Biden’s “open borders agenda.”
“Will we do something on immigration? Absolutely. Are we moving forward on something that meets the Governor’s goal on immigration? Absolutely,” said House Speaker Paul Renner.
Democrats have little recourse to fight back, because Republicans hold super majorities in both chambers.
Democrats have already come out against many of the proposals, including the budget requests that would give more money to the state for its migrant relocation program.
Last year, the DeSantis administration flew nearly 50 undocumented immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, a so-called sanctuary site.
“There are a lot of better uses of this taxpayer money, specifically for the people who are recovering from the various hurricanes we have had,” said Rep. Dotie Joseph, (D-Miami). “Instead of going out-of-state to hunt immigrants down.”