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This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.

FL 1718, effective July 1, 2023, was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The legislation specifies that certain driver licenses and permits issued by other states exclusively to “unauthorized immigrants” are not valid in Florida; requires certain hospitals to collect patient immigration status information on admission or registration forms; and requires the Department of Economic Opportunity to enter an order and require repayment of economic development incentives if the department finds or is notified that an employer has knowingly employed an unauthorized person without verifying the employment eligibility of such person, among other provisions.

The new law includes many provisions related to employers. For example, it:

  • Requires an employer to verify a new employee’s employment eligibility within three business days after the first day the new employee begins working for pay;
  • Requires public agencies to use the E-Verify system to verify a new employee’s employment eligibility;
  • Requires private employers with more than 25 employees to use the E-Verify system to verify a new employee’s employment eligibility;
  • Requires employers to certify use of the E-Verify system on unemployment compensation or reemployment assistance system returns;
  • Requires employers to use a certain form if the E-Verify system is unavailable;
  • Requires employers to retain specified documentation for a certain number of years;
  • Prohibits an employer from continuing to employ an unauthorized noncitizen after obtaining knowledge that a person is or has become unauthorized, with an exception;
  • Authorizes specified persons or entities to request, and requires an employer to provide, copies of specified documentation;
  • Requires a public agency to require in any contract that a contractor or subcontractor register with and use the E-Verify system;
  • Prohibits a public agency, contractor or subcontractor from entering into a contract unless each party to the contract registers with and uses the E-Verify system; and
  • Requires the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to impose fines against employers under certain circumstances.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) noted that “while the full impact of FL 1718 on Florida residents is difficult to quantify, its impact on the state’s economy is likely to be devastating.” AILA cited a 2019 report by the Migration Policy Institute estimating that more than 700,000 undocumented individuals are in the Florida workforce and that almost one in four workers in the construction industry are undocumented. Similarly, AILA noted, a 2021 report by the New American Economy Research Fund estimated that approximately 42 percent of Florida’s farmworkers are undocumented.

The National Immigration Forum said the legislation “is likely to have a detrimental effect on Florida residents and institutions, including the state’s faith community, health care industry and businesses.”

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