The United States is known for being the country with the largest number of immigrants in the world, with more than 45 million immigrants representing 13.6% of the total population. Unfortunately, many of these immigrants are in an irregular situation, with the Pew Research Center estimating that there are around 10.5 million undocumented immigrants in the US.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ announcement of a sweeping legislative proposal to crack down on undocumented immigrants has been met with criticism by immigrant rights groups and activists. The proposal includes increasing penalties for human smuggling, requiring the use of the E-Verify system, improving penalties for document forgery, prohibiting local governments from issuing identification cards to people without documentation, voiding out-of-state licenses for unauthorized aliens, and requiring those who register to vote to affirm their citizenship and residency status.
The Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA) has called Florida a high-risk state and has voiced concerns about the potential for further harm to undocumented immigrants. CHIRLA Director of Policy & Advocacy Cynthia Garcia described the proposal as “a dangerous attempt to criminalize immigration and terrorize immigrant communities.”
The proposal also includes requirements for hospitals to collect data on the immigration status of patients and the costs of providing care to undocumented immigrants, which some fear could lead to further discrimination in healthcare.
Additionally a controversial legislative proposal announced to punish undocumented immigrants who enter the state with up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and five years of probation. If the person is under 18, he faces up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and separate criminal charges for each person transported, concealed, or harbored.
In response to the proposal, immigrant rights activists have urged the public to take action and contact their local representatives to oppose the measures. Activists have also highlighted the importance of protecting the rights of all immigrants, regardless of their immigration status.
The potential impact of these bills on immigrants should not be taken lightly, as it could have serious repercussions for their lives and those of their families. It is essential that the proposed bills are addressed responsibly and that the rights of immigrants are respected and protected.