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Immigration News

Impact of Florida’s New Immigration Law on Labor Shortage

The impending Florida law, SB 1718, has created fear and left various industries bereft of crucial workers, including farms, construction sites, restaurants, and nursing homes.

The new law restricts undocumented immigrants’ access to work, health care, and valid identification. It also imposes penalties on employers who fail to verify workers’ immigration status. Projections by the Florida Policy Institute suggest it will have a substantial negative impact on the economy, estimating a $12.6 billion annual loss. Industries dependent on immigrant workers, such as hospitality, construction, and agriculture, are expected to be severely affected.

The law’s implementation on July 1 comes at an unfavorable time, with Florida already facing a low unemployment rate and a severe labor shortage. Despite dire economic predictions, Governor Ron DeSantis’ office remains unfazed and warns businesses about the consequences of hiring undocumented workers.

The law requires businesses with 25 or more employees to use the federal E-Verify system for immigration status checks. However, a policy analysis by the Cato Institute raises concerns about E-Verify’s slow, costly, and inaccurate nature. Previous experiences in Arizona, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina show that E-Verify led to a rise in counterfeit documents and widespread noncompliance with the mandate.

While proponents downplay its significance, concerns about the law’s economic impact and efficacy in reducing the undocumented workforce persist. The law’s implementation remains a challenge for businesses in need of labor and may necessitate reevaluation in the future.

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