Florida Laws That Affect Immigration Law

Discover how Florida laws impact immigration. Stay informed and navigate changes confidently. Perfect for residents and lawyers alike.


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What Is the New Law in Florida 2023 for Immigrants?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law, Senate Bill 1718, targeting undocumented immigrants. He described it as the boldest move yet in bolstering state immigration regulations. The legislation, designed to align Florida with federal immigration laws, seeks to relieve the financial burden on Florida taxpayers attributed to illegal immigration.

Critics, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, have raised concerns about the potential consequences of this law. They argue that Florida may face significantly increased costs, as it heavily relies on hundreds of thousands of undocumented agricultural, construction, and hospitality workers.

Effective July 1, the law ushers in several notable provisions. The law mandates hospitals to inquire about patients’ immigration status and document the expenses incurred in providing care to undocumented immigrants.

Moreover, it requires private employers to use the federal E-Verify system to verify the legal immigration status of their hires. Failure to do so could result in criminal penalties. Additionally, an undocumented immigrant can no longer assume that an out-of-state driver’s license will be accepted in Florida.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has not initiated any wide-ranging crackdown. This has left the extent of enforcement uncertain. However, the repercussions of this new immigration law are already generating fear within certain immigrant communities. Such repercussions include the potential for criminal penalties and the increased scrutiny placed on private employers who hire undocumented workers.


Let’s look at the new Florida law and its key provisions. The Senate Bill 1718 entails the following:

Transporting undocumented immigrants

  • The bill increased human smuggling crime to a third-degree felony.
  • It enhanced the penalties for smuggling minors, transporting more than five individuals, or having a prior conviction for human smuggling.
  • It included human smuggling in Florida’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act.

Immigration Enforcement and Cooperation

  • The law grants the Florida Department of Law Enforcement authority to collaborate with the federal government on immigration enforcement and related matters within Florida.

  • It allows law enforcement to share information with federal immigration agencies.


  • Private employers with 25 or more employees must use the E-Verify system for new hires starting July 1, 2023.

  • The bill imposes penalties for employer noncompliance with the E-Verify system requirement, including daily fines and potential license suspension starting July 1, 2024.

  • It imposes penalties for knowingly employing unauthorized immigrants, including quarterly reporting and license suspension/revocation, effective July 1, 2024.

Identification and Driving

  • The law prohibits counties and municipalities from funding institutions that issue identification cards for undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

  • It prevents those with driver’s licenses issued by states exclusively for undocumented immigrants from operating vehicles in Florida.

  • Exceptions to driver’s license requirements for nonresidents no longer apply to undocumented immigrants.

  • Unauthorized immigrants using falsified or invalid documents for employment can face a third-degree felony charge.

Legal Practice and Immigration Detainers

  • The law repeals the statute allowing unauthorized immigrant applicants to the Florida Bar to be admitted to the Bar by the Florida Supreme Court (effective November 1, 2028).

  • It requires DNA sample submission for individuals subject to immigration detainers when booked into correctional facilities.

  • Hospitals accepting Medicaid must inquire about patient citizenship and lawful presence in the U.S. on admission forms.

  • Hospitals must provide quarterly reports to the Agency for Health Care Administration regarding patient categories based on responses.

  • It allocates $12 million from the General Revenue Fund for the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

Immigrant Rights in Florida

In Florida, immigrants, including undocumented workers, are entitled to certain legal protections and rights. Following the Florida Senate Bill, local governments in areas like West Palm Beach and Central Florida are actively involved in community outreach, ensuring immigrants understand their rights. One fundamental right is access to the judicial system, allowing everyone, regardless of status, to file lawsuits and seek legal redress.

Additionally, the law passed mandates free public education for children, regardless of their immigration status. This upholds the Supreme Court’s decision, reflecting Florida’s commitment to education for all, fostering inclusivity in cities like Palm Beach.

Florida’s health care system is influenced by the Florida Gov’s directives, requiring hospitals to provide emergency medical care to all, including illegal immigrants and pregnant women, highlighting the state’s dedication to health care needs. This approach aligns with federal law, ensuring urgent medical treatments are accessible irrespective of immigration status, particularly vital along the southern border regions.

Employment rights are also safeguarded in Florida, where undocumented workers living in communities, especially in Central Florida, must be treated fairly. Although a valid driver’s license is often necessary for employment, once hired, immigrants are entitled to labor protections like minimum wage and safe working conditions.

Despite these rights, navigating the legalities can be challenging, especially with the stringent measures on the southern border and within local governments. Legal assistance and advocacy are crucial in helping immigrants in areas like West Palm Beach and across Florida to understand and exercise their rights.

In conclusion, while Florida’s laws are strict, they ensure that immigrants, particularly in regions like Central Florida and West Palm Beach, have access to education, the health care system, and employment, underscoring the state’s effort to maintain fairness and justice for all residents.


When your and your family’s future is at stake, you cannot afford the tiniest mistakes. It’s crucial to seek help from an experienced immigration lawyer in Miami for your immigration matters to be able to make well-informed decisions. The law is complex and not always on your side. Our attorneys at The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A. can provide comprehensive immigration legal assistance tailored to your needs.

Here are a few ways in which we can help you:

  • Form completion: We assist you in completing and submitting the necessary forms and documents for your immigration applications or petitions.
  • USCIS filings: Our team ensures the accurate and timely submission of your completed forms and documents to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Legal guidance: Our attorneys can help you identify your legal options to obtain legal status in the U.S. and walk you through the application process. We can also help you understand the various criminal issues in immigration laws and how to handle them.
  • Immigration court representation: When facing removal proceedings before the immigration court, we provide experienced representation to protect your right to stay in the U.S.
  • Inadmissibility support: If you were found inadmissible by immigration authorities, our lawyers can explore the possible immigration waivers in the U.S. that can help you enter or stay in the U.S.
  • Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) representation: Our attorneys handle appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals if you’re dissatisfied with decisions made by the immigration court.
  • Federal court appeals: We can represent you in federal court appeals and challenge decisions made by the BIA. 

Contact The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A.

The new Florida immigration law introduces significant changes that affect both documented and undocumented immigrants in the state. 

As immigration attorneys at The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A. we are committed to providing tailored and comprehensive legal assistance to all immigrants and those still planning their journey into the U.S. If you need help with understanding the impact of the new law on your status, job, or family, reach out to us. We also offer representation at asylum interviews, removal proceedings, and appeals.

Our team of family immigration lawyers is dedicated to assisting immigrant families to reunite and stay together. We are ready to stand by your side and help you navigate the evolving landscape of immigration law.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!


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