Immigrants, supporters skip work to protest Florida immigration law

ORLANDO, Fla. — On Thursday, immigrants and immigrant support groups across the state are skipping work and gathering to protest in opposition of Senate Bill 1718.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill last month, touting it as the strongest anti-illegal immigration legislation in the country.


The law requires businesses with at least 25 employees to use a federal system to check the immigration status of workers. It toughens criminal penalties for people who bring undocumented immigrants into the state.

The law also requires hospitals to ask patients about their immigration status.

Read: New Florida immigration law may hurt state’s construction industry

More than 100 people railed at the intersection of Conroy Road and Turkey Lake Road, blocking off part of Conroy Road for a brief while to stand together in support of immigration rights and against what they call a dangerous law that threatens fundamental human rights.

The group gathered outside the office of Rep. Carolina Amesty.

The Republican lawmaker voted in support of the bill.

Read: Central Florida immigrant community members say they fear impact of new immigration law

“She voted against the rights of immigrants, against the human rights of so many people -- and we are here to hold her accountable,” said Felipe Sosa, executive director of the Hope Community Center.

Channel 9 asked the governor’s office for comment on the protests, they provided a statement that read in part: “SB 1718 counteracts the effects of illegal immigration on Florida, a problem willfully enabled by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure our nation’s southern border… Any business that exploits this crisis by employing illegal aliens instead of Floridians will be held accountable.”

Read: Should people living in Florida illegally receive in-state tuition?

When the protesters tried to go up to Amesty’s office, she wasn’t there. They found the doors locked and the lights off.

Channel 9 emailed and called her for a response but have yet to hear back.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.