May 15, 2023
Florida’s new immigration law ignites panic in ag community

A new immigration law recently signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is reported to be creating panic in the state’s agricultural operations.

The new law is expected to produce a wide-ranging impact on a variety of industries and causing concerns for the agriculture community, according to a May 12 WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida, news report.

“WPTV is told that some farm workers are already too scared to go to work and are considering leaving the state, which could cause a huge staffing crisis for Florida agriculture,” the report said.

Immigration advocates warn a new Florida law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis is scaring workers who are considering leaving the state. Photo: Doug Ohlemeier

Florida could experience a worker shortage in the agriculture industry, immigration attorney Gina Fraga said in the report.

The law requires employers with 25 or more employees to use the E-Verify system to check legal status and those who fail to comply will be fined $1,000 per day.

Fraga said the industries that will be most impacted will be the farming industry, construction and hospitality.

“Obviously they’re very worried because they could be fined they could be imprisoned by just transporting farm workers that maybe they don’t have the specific documents that they need right now,” Fraga said in the report.

Supporters say the law will crack down on illegal immigration. The law’s provisions include tougher penalties for knowingly hiring or transporting undocumented in the state as well as Florida hospitals will collect immigration status information, according to the report.

“I’ve been hearing that probably they will not be sending their kids to school, and they are afraid to go to work, and it’s sad,” Denise Negron, the executive director of the Farmworker Coordinator Council of Palm Beach County, said in the report.

“So their employers have told them, ‘Unfortunately after July 1, if you don’t bring me some documentation that’s valid, unfortunately, you’re going to be let go,'” Fraga said in the report.

According to the migration policy institute, nearly 800,000 undocumented people live in Florida. The state’s estimated population is 22 million.

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