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Florida Immigration Crackdown The Toughest State Move In A Decade

Led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican with presidential ambitions, the Florida legislature is considering a sweeping package of immigration measures that would amount to the toughest state crackdown on undocumented immigration in more than a decade. Expected to pass within weeks with Republicans supermajorities in both chambers, the bills are part of what DeSantis describes as a response to President Biden’s “open borders agenda,” which he said has allowed an uncontrolled flow of immigrants to cross into the U.S. from Mexico, the New York Times reports. The bills would expose people to felony charges for sheltering, hiring, and transporting undocumented immigrants; require hospitals to ask patients their immigration status and report to the state; invalidate out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to undocumented immigrants; prevent undocumented immigrants from being admitted to the bar; and direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to provide assistance to federal authorities in enforcing federal immigration laws.

The new measures represent the most far-reaching state immigration legislation since 2010, when Arizona, a border state that was the nation’s busiest corridor for human smuggling at the time, passed a law that required the police to ask people they stopped for proof of immigration status if they had a reason to suspect they might be in the U.S.. “We need to do everything in our power to protect the people of Florida from what’s going on at the border and the border crisis,” DeSantis said when he unveiled his proposals, speaking from a lectern emblazoned with the words “Biden’s Border Crisis.” Stronger controls on illegal immigration have been a key issue for Republicans, including among many Hispanic voters in border regions who have expressed alarm over the 2.5 million unauthorized border crossings last year. There has also been broad Republican support for increasing deportations of those who are in the U.S. illegally, with eight in 10 Republicans saying that boosting deportations was “important,” according to a Pew Research Center survey last year.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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