On May 10, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1718 into law, taking a significant step towards combating the effects of illegal immigration in the state of Florida. This comprehensive legislation addresses various aspects of the issue and aims to protect the interests of both employers and the community at large. Here are the key provisions of the state bill:
- Mandatory Use of E-Verify: To ensure that employers hire authorized workers, the legislation makes it mandatory for any employer with 25 or more employees to use the E-Verify system. This requirement will go into effect on July 1, 2023. The E-Verify system enables employers to verify the employment eligibility of new employees quickly and efficiently.
- Penalties for Hiring Illegal Aliens: The bill imposes enforceable penalties on employers who knowingly employ unauthorized workers. These penalties may include the suspension or revocation of employer licenses, as well as specific fines for employers who are aware they are hiring illegal aliens.
- Enhanced Penalties for Human Smuggling: Recognizing the seriousness of human smuggling, the legislation enhances penalties for individuals involved in this criminal activity. By increasing the consequences for human smuggling, the state aims to deter such illicit practices.
- Prohibition of ID Cards for Illegal Aliens: The bill prohibits local governments from issuing Identification Cards (ID) to illegal aliens. Furthermore, it invalidates any ID cards issued to illegal aliens in other states. This measure ensures that identification documents are not obtained or misused by individuals who are not authorized to reside or work in the country.
- Healthcare Reporting Requirements: Hospitals that receive federal and state Medicaid reimbursements will now be required to collect and submit data on the costs associated with providing healthcare to illegal aliens. This information will help policymakers gain a better understanding of the impact of illegal immigration on healthcare expenditures.
It is essential for employers in the State of Florida understand their obligations under this new law. Private employers with 25 or more employees must start using the federal E-Verify system to verify the employment eligibility of new hires beginning on July 1, 2023. Public agencies are also required to utilize the E-Verify system for this purpose.
We would like to emphasize that employers must verify a new employee’s employment eligibility within three business days from the first day of employment. Continuing to employ an unauthorized alien after obtaining knowledge of their illegal status is strictly prohibited.
This legislation represents a significant milestone in addressing the challenges posed by illegal immigration.
Thank you for your attention, and please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or require further clarification.
Written by Matheus Etrusco, Immigration Lawyer at Drummond Advisors