Accused human smugglers and illegal immigrants who use fake identification documents to get jobs in Florida could face stiffer penalties under a sweeping immigration legislation signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis during a May 10 signing event in Jacksonville. The measure, SB 1718, was introduced by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) in March.
“Florida made history signing into law the strongest state-led anti-illegal immigration bill ever brought forth,” Ingoglia said in response to the signing. “It was an honor to usher this bill through the process, knowing we are safeguarding Floridians and serving as the model for the nation to combat this crisis.”
Specifically, SB 1718 suspends the licenses of employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants and makes it a felony for prospective employees to use false immigration identification documents in order to get a job here. The legislation also forbids the government from issuing ID cards, including driver’s licenses to anyone who cannot prove citizenship, requires hospitals to collect and report the costs of healthcare for illegal immigrants, and sets aside $12 million to continue the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program which relocates illegal immigrants from Florida to sanctuary jurisdictions elsewhere.
Finally, under SB 1718, human smugglers who knowingly transport five or more illegal immigrants or a single minor illegal immigrant into the state could face second-degree felony charges punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.
“The Biden Border Crisis has wreaked havoc across the United States and has put Americans in danger and in Florida,” DeSantis said. “(This) legislation gives Florida the most ambitious anti-illegal immigration laws in the country, ensuring the Florida taxpayers are not footing the bill for illegal immigration.”
DeSantis signed the legislation one day before Title 42 expired, allowing thousands of illegal immigrants to stream across the U.S. Border with Mexico. Invoked in 2020 by then-President Donald Trump in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Title 42 gives the federal government the authority to take emergency action to keep communicable diseases out of the country.
Previously, Title 42 was used in 1929 to prevent ships from China and the Philippines from entering U.S. ports during a meningitis outbreak.
SB 1718 became effective as soon as DeSantis signed it into law.