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Here’s What Employers Should Know About Florida’s New Immigration Law

Here's What Employers Should Know About FL's New Immigration Law

Florida has been in the news a lot lately, and not for its sunshine and world-class theme parks. Rather, a new immigration law now in effect in the Sunshine State has taken center stage. We felt it appropriate to discuss what employers in Florida, and elsewhere, should know about that law.

The law in question was passed during the 2023 legislative session and signed into law in May. It became effective on July 1. Since then, Florida’s Governor, Attorney General, and Statewide Prosecutor have been sued by a number of organizations led by the Southern Poverty Law Center and ACLU.

Main Provisions of the Law

Although the lawsuit against the state of Florida focuses primarily on two provisions, the law is actually broader than what critics contend. Below are the law’s main provisions. Note that the first two are covered in the previously mentioned lawsuit.

The law:

  • criminalizes the transportation of undocumented individuals into Florida.
  • requires ‘inspection’ of suspected undocumented individuals before they can be transported.
  • increases the requirements for using E-Verify to verify work eligibility.
  • requires some medical facilities to include a citizenship question on intake forms.
  • limits social services intended for immigrants without permanent legal status.
  • strengthens the state’s relocation program for undocumented individuals.

Regardless of where you might stand on Florida’s new law, it has little impact on legal business immigration. Its impact is also limited to the Sunshine State for now. It is not the law of the land throughout the United States.

Immigrant Rights Are the Core

As the suit against Florida makes its way through the courts, immigrant rights will be at the core. Florida lawmakers crafted the legislation to make it very specific to undocumented immigrants in Florida. Under a strict reading of current state and federal laws, court rulings on this matter should be a slam dunk. But nothing is guaranteed in the U.S. judicial system.

How justices interpret immigrant rights will impact the rulings. If you are a Florida employer with a vested interest in the outcome of this case, expect it to go all the way to the state Supreme Court, at the very least. It could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court depending on how lower courts rule.

The Law’s Impact on Foreign-Born Workers

Although the law does place a significant burden on Florida employers to ensure they are not hiring people without proper documentation, the law’s biggest impact falls on workers. Florida’s agricultural and tourist sectors rely heavily on foreign-born workers, many of whom come from south of the border.

It has been suggested that an immigrant exodus from Florida is already underway. We haven’t been able to verify that ourselves, but it would not be unexpected given the new E-Verify requirements.

At any rate, legal business immigration should continue in Florida unabated. Likewise for business immigration throughout the rest of the country. As long as employers and foreign-born workers follow the law, complete the required paperwork, and do what needs to be done to get the appropriate visas, there should be nothing to worry about.

Legal Help When You Need It

Florida’s new immigration law aside, it is no secret that U.S. immigration law is complex and often hard to understand. Here at Graham Adair, we make it our business to know and understand the law thoroughly. We are here to offer legal help when you need it most.

We expect business immigration to continue without much impact from Florida’s new law or its subsequent court case. But we will keep an eye on how that case moves through the courts.

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