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On May 10, 2023, Governor DeSantis signed Florida Senate Bill 1718 making it very difficult for illegal immigrants to work and live in Florida. This Florida Anti-Immigration Legislation makes using E-Verify mandatory for any employer with 25 or more employees, imposes enforceable penalties for those employing illegal aliens, and enhances penalties for human smuggling. Additionally, this bill prohibits local governments from issuing Identification Cards (ID) to illegal aliens, invalidates ID cards issued to illegal aliens in other states, and requires hospitals to collect and submit data on the costs of providing health care to illegal aliens. 

This Florida Anti-Immigration Legislation will require private employers with 25 or more employees to use the E-Verify system for new employees, beginning on July 1, 2023. This bill also expands penalties for employers who fail to comply with E-Verify requirements, including the possible suspension and revocation of employer licenses and the imposition of specific penalties on employers that knowingly employ illegal aliens.

Additionally, this Florida Anti-Immigration Legislation creates a third-degree felony for an unauthorized alien to knowingly use a false ID document to gain employment and prohibits a county or municipality from providing funds to any person or organization for the purpose of issuing IDs or other documents to an illegal alien.

Importantly, illegal aliens will no longer be permitted to rely on out-of-state driver licenses. If another state issued a license to an illegal alien who was unable to prove lawful presence in the U.S. when his or her license was issued, that person is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle in Florida.

Senate Bill 1718 also enhances the crime of human smuggling when smuggling a minor, when smuggling more than five people, and when the defendant has a prior conviction for human smuggling. This bill also adds the crime of human smuggling to the list of crimes allowed for prosecution under the Florida Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.

This Florida Anti-Immigration Legislation will additionally require each hospital that accepts Medicaid to include a question on admission or registration forms that asks whether the patient is a U.S. citizen or lawfully present in the U.S. or is not lawfully present in the U.S. Hospitals will be required to provide a quarterly report to the Agency for Health Care Administration detailing the number of patients that visited the emergency department or were admitted to the hospital in each category of the citizen status question on the admission or registration forms.

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