DeSantis causes another mess

Florida’s controversial anti-immigration bill unleashes a storm of consequences


Kushi Maridu

Living without papers in Florida will most likely lead to arrest after this bill goes into effect on July 1, 2023

Kushi Maridu, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Florida’s recent passing of Senate Bill 1718, an anti-immigration bill, raises serious concerns about the future of Florida and the United States as a whole. The legislation is aimed at curbing illegal immigration, introducing a slew of penalties for individuals lacking proper documentation. The bill’s far-reaching consequences can extend beyond its intended goals, causing modern-day slavery and racial injustices.

This move, one of many controversial ones, by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis seems to be a tactical decision as he hopes to run for president soon. Passing this bill will help him gain more leverage with voters who view illegal immigrants as threats and consider this bill a victory. Despite the harsh logistics of this bill, DeSantis still passed it.

With an estimated 772,000 undocumented immigrants in Florida, the bill affects a sizable population in the state. Nearly 60%, about 300,000, of Florida’s farm workers live in the state illegally. 

Workers are already boycotting Florida due to this bill. This comes with a labor shortage also caused by the bill, which instilled fear upon many of the workers. A viral TikTok video shows a farm with withered crops and rotten products due to the lack of available workers to tend to them. This shortage is a direct result of the stringent penalties imposed on those without proper documentation.

Senior Nikhil Ramaraju saw the TikTok and was shocked by the impact of the bill. “It is scary to think that one bill would make such a large number of people the targets. This fleeing is something that happened in history under harsh governments. I don’t want to compare DeSantis to anyone but he is a very scary leader,” Ramaraju stated.

In addition to causing shortages, Senate Bill 1718 includes provisions that could lead to arrests of people crossing the state lines without identification papers. Even individuals with proper documentation can get fined for driving illegal immigrants across state borders. This would basically lock all the undocumented people within the state once the bill goes into effect on July 1, 2023 and create a climate of fear within the immigrant community.

Even hospitals aren’t safe from this bill. The bill requires “hospitals to collect patient immigration status data information on admission or registration forms.” This part of the bill definitely raises concerns about potential discrimination and the erosion of patient confidentiality because medical facilities would lose their titles as safe spaces focused on providing healthcare but rather be known for enforcing immigration policies.

Contrary to popular belief, slavery has not yet ended in the United States. The 13th amendment of the Constitution does not ban prisoners from slavery, which means they can be involuntarily to work. Some states still haven’t patched this loophole yet, Florida included. By funneling undocumented individuals into the prison system, this new bill effectively transforms them into a captive workforce, possibly earning no money at the same locations they were once employed.

With such a destructive and exploitative bill, DeSantis wreaks havoc once again in Florida. It affects not only immigration but also human rights, the state’s economic situation and the state’s reputation.

Senior Deen Nair was considering going to University of Florida for this post-secondary education but ultimately decided against it due to DeSantis. “UF was my top choice for college because I got in, visited and loved it there. However, the constant push of outrageous bills by DeSantis made me decide against it. He attacked education, he attacked minorities and he’s attacking a lot of other things now,” Nair shared.

Shifts to attack minorities like these are happening in Republican states, such as Iowa and Florida, all over the country. This is only a preview of what is to come if DeSantis succeeds in his presidential race.