Florida’s new DeSantis-backed laws address immigration, guns and more

Florida is ringing in the change with over 200 new laws, led by Governor Ron DeSantis. These laws hold significant implications, especially for employers hiring undocumented immigrants and gun owners. They come amidst DeSantis’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Immigration & Employer Penalties

DeSantis’s approach to immigration has been unambiguous and firm, echoing former President Trump’s border policy. The new laws allow him to demonstrate that his strong stance is not merely rhetoric. Critics argue these are the most severe state laws in the country on illegal immigration.

The Impact on Florida’s Economy

However, these penalties have stirred apprehensions about potential economic disruption in Florida, given the state’s reliance on immigrant labor in tourism, agriculture, and construction sectors. The current unemployment rate in Florida stands at a low 2.6%.

Expanded Verification Requirements

The laws broaden worker verification obligations. Companies with 25 or more employees must now use E-Verify to validate their new hires’ work eligibility, or they risk business license loss and hefty fines.

Healthcare & Licensing Changes

Hospitals accepting Medicaid are required to confirm the citizenship status of patients. The new laws also nullify driver’s licenses issued by other states to undocumented immigrants.

Reaction to the New Immigration Policy

Despite Republican dominance in the House and Senate, there is a mix of support and dissent for the new immigration policy. Samuel Vilchez Santiago, the American Business Immigration Coalition’s Florida director, has expressed fears that the new laws may be disastrous given the state’s need for workers.

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Expanding Gun Rights

The new laws also grant enhanced freedoms to gun owners. Anyone legally able to own a gun can now carry it concealed in public without a permit. This change does not affect existing laws requiring background checks on gun sales.

Effects on Background Checks and Data Tracking

Another law blocks credit card companies from monitoring gun and ammunition sales, thereby preventing potential data usage to flag individuals who make substantial purchases.

Bans on State Funding for Diversity Programs

State colleges are now barred from using state or federal funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. Schools cannot force teachers and students to use pronouns matching someone’s gender identity.

Restricting Property Purchases

Certain foreign nationals, particularly those from China, will face restrictions on buying property near military bases and other critical infrastructure. Those breaking the law face severe penalties.

The Role of the American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit to stop this law. Despite this, a judge will not consider an injunction until almost three weeks after the law has taken effect.

Sales Tax Exemptions

One law, unanimously agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans, exempts baby and toddler products, dental hygiene products, and gun safety devices from sales tax.

Concluding Thoughts

These new laws are a significant marker of Florida’s evolving political landscape. Their effects on Florida’s economy, cultural diversity, and gun rights will unfold over time, sparking debates and further changes.

FAQs

  1. What is the new Florida law on hiring immigrants? Florida’s new law requires companies with 25 or more employees to use E-Verify for new hires or face possible fines and business license loss.
  2. How does the new law affect gun rights in Florida? The law allows anyone legally able to own a gun to carry it concealed in public without a permit.
  3. What are the restrictions on property purchases? The new law prevents foreign nationals from certain countries, especially China, from purchasing property near military installations and critical infrastructure.
  4. What are the changes to state funding for diversity programs? Florida’s state colleges are now prohibited from using state or federal funds for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
  5. What are the new sales tax exemptions? Sales tax exemptions are applied to baby and toddler products, dental hygiene products, and gun safety devices.
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