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On May 10, 2023, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis signed Immigration Senate Bill 1718 into law. According to the Governor, the law was passed to counteract the devastating effects of illegal immigration caused by the federal government's reckless border policies. The bill will go into effect right on July1, 2023. The legislation alloted $10 million to fund the program through June, however DeSantis' proposed budget adds another $12 million to continue the program.

Immigration bill SB 1718 has made headlines as it aims to obstruct the flow of illegal immigration and imposes some of the toughest penalties and restrictions in the. Critics says that “the new immigration bill is cruel as it imposes tough penalties and new restrictions on people living in the state illegally” they further stated that “the bill would ‘dilute’ Florida’s anti-terrorism resources, cost taxpayers fighting legal challenges and hurt businesses and undocumented immigrants”.

Senate Bill 1718

Senate Bill 1718 makes it illegal for Floridians to shelter, support, and provide transportation to into the state to undocumented immigrants, including those who have overstayed their visa or who have lived in Florida for decades and have US born children. This legislation makes use of 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 inquire about the patients’ immigration status. Hospitals would then need to turn the cumulative data over to the governor and the Florida Legislature quarterly and annually, and they would then have to quantify how much it costs to provide medical assistance to people not living in the country legally. The identity of patients would not be included in this data. According to immigration advocates, “This law conflicts with health care professionals’ oaths to patients because it dissuades people in need of health care from seeking it out if they are in the country illegally”. Many medical professionals stated that the Senate Bill 1718 could cause immigrants to hesitate when seeking care in the state.

DeSantis believes that President Biden hasn’t responded appropriately on the federal level to address immigration concerns, so he has SB 1718 on the state level. “The Biden Border Crisis has wreaked havoc across the United States and has put Americans in danger,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “In Florida, we will not stand idly by while the federal government abandons its lawful duties to protect our country. The legislation I signed today gives Florida the most ambitious anti-illegal immigration laws in the country, fighting back against reckless federal government policies and ensuring the Florida taxpayers are not footing the bill for illegal immigration.”

“Our Southern Border has been dealing with a manmade crisis under the ineptness of President Biden, allowing more than 6.3 million illegal immigrants to flood our border,” said Senator Blaise Ingoglia. “Today, under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida made history signing into law the strongest state-led anti-illegal immigration bill ever brought forth. 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 created by our very own President.”

Effective July 1, 2023, the new law will:

  • Require business owners to use E-verify to check employee work eligibility.

  • Suspend employer licenses for unqualified workers.

  • Human smuggling penalties enhanced.

  • Bans local governments from issuing identification cards.

  • Requires hospitals to collect data on immigrants without legal status.

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. Driver’s licenses and permits issued by other states exclusively to unlawful immigrants will no longer be recognized in Florida. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the 19 states and the District of Columbia issue these licenses to individuals living in the country illegally, Immigration advocate says that this bill could “open the flood gates” of racial profiling and increase the danger for drivers across the state.

Additionally, this 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. Senate Bill 1718 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. It 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.

If you have questions about the new legislation and how will it impact you or your company, do not hesitate to consult a legal representative. For more information on how we can assist you, please visit our website at or email us at

Patricia Elizee is the managing partner of the Elizee Law Firm, an immigration law firm located at 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131. Phone 305-371-8846


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