ORLANDO, Fla. — Protests and labor strikes have been held across Florida as the state’s newest immigration bill is set to take effect on July 1.
For the last month, attorneys like Frank Symphorien-Saavedra have been working to prepare for it.
“What it does is create panic.” Symphorien said of the law. “That’s really what it’s doing for a lot of the immigrant population.”
Symphorien says the final version of the bill doesn’t do much, lacking much of the teeth lawmakers initially put into it.
It requires companies with 25 or more employees to use E-Verify to determine someone’s immigration status, criminalizes bringing an undocumented person into Florida, and asks hospitals to check someone’s immigration status for data-gathering purposes.
The fear created by the law and the misinformation around it has caused families to pack up and leave the state, leading to some Republican lawmakers being caught on camera admitting the law is only meant to scare-and begging workers to stay.
“There are tens if not hundreds of small businesses that are calling every day trying to understand what the law does,” Gov. Ron DeSantis explained. “Trying to figure out if there’s any ways for them to maintain their employees that they’ve had forever.”
The Governor’s team says the state is trying to protect Florida’s citizens and ensure there’s enough job opportunities. He’s using immigration as a wedge issue to contrast his platform with President Biden’s.
Symphorien says lawsuits are expected when the law goes into effect.
“I myself am working with a few national organizations that are looking at the bill closely,” Symphorien said. “And looking at several areas that are encroaching on the federal authority to govern immigration laws.”
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