Florida’s New Immigration Law
Florida’s new immigration law implements several serious legal changes affecting various communities. Immigrants, businesses and local governments in the state need to be mindful of the following new measures:
- The law now prohibits local governments from funding activities designed to issue IDs to anyone lacking documentation of their lawful presence in the U.S.
- The state now outlaws driver’s licenses and permits issued by other states to immigrants lacking lawful status.
- Hospitals accepting Medicaid will now ask immigration status questions on hospital admission and registration forms.
- Employers that knowingly employ immigrants without legal status without proper employment eligibility verification will now incur additional penalties.
- Individuals caught using false identification documents to obtain employment will now face severe criminal penalties.
3 Serious Implications of Florida’s New Immigration Law
Here are 3 important things to know about Florida’s new Immigration Law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2023, that everyone should be aware about:
- Firstly, the new law makes it a 3rd Degree Felony–with a maximum sentence of five (5) years in prison–for any immigrant lacking an employment permit who is caught “knowingly us[ing] false identification document[s] or . . . fraudulently us[ing] an identification document of another person for the purpose of obtaining employment.”
- In addition, the new law carves out an employment verification exception for residential “casual labor” as defined by the Florida Statutes, which state that casual labor is “labor that is occasional, incidental, or irregular, not exceeding 200 person-hours in total duration. See F.S. 443.036(11). Per the new law, in order to qualify for the exemption, the work needs to be performed “entirely within a private residence.” That means that while all employers, as of July 1, 2023, are required to verify a new employee’s employment eligibility, those same employers will be able to classify workers performing “casual labor” within a home as independent contractors instead of employees, thereby lawfully circumventing the new employment verification requirements.
- Finally, the new law requires that hospitals accepting Medicaid ask whether a new patient is a (1) U.S. Citizen, (2) otherwise lawfully present in the U.S., or (3) not lawfully present in the U.S. It does not, however, require that new patients actually answer the question. In fact, the new law requires that hospitals also provide a fourth option on their registration and admission forms, “decline to answer.” New patients should be very careful in the future to make sure they answer the hospital’s immigration-status question truthfully or accurately, or decline to answer altogether. There is no penalty for declining to answer.
In anticipation of these significant legal shifts taking effect on July 1, 2023, it’s essential to navigate the complexities of Florida’s new immigration law. Whether you’re an employee, independent contractor, or employer, a thorough understanding will ensure compliance and informed decision-making. For any queries or concerns about this law, don’t hesitate to reach out. Stay informed, stay compliant, and take care.