April 19, 2023


Don't Think You'll Escape DeSantis' Immigration Dragnet Just Because You Are an AmericanHis sweeping bill will go after Florida churches, employers and hospitals (SHIKHA DALMIA, APR 18, 2023, The UnPopulist)

All of this is a naked attempt to court the MAGA base. But DeSantis is not content to simply slam the undocumented population--inside and outside--the state to do so. His bill also would also go after everyone--legal residents, citizens--who help the undocumented. For truth in advertising, Bulwark's Tim Miller brilliantly suggests, the bill should be renamed the "Miep Gies Criminalization Act of 2023" after the woman who hid Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis for two years.

After all, it contains some of the toughest anti-harboring provisions in the country. It would make it a third-degree felony, punishable by five years in prison, to transport into or within Florida an individual who the person "knows, or reasonably should know" is undocumented. This goes much further than the federal law that bans such activity "if it is in furtherance of violation of immigration law." But the Florida bill, according to the National Immigration Forum, would make it illegal to provide transportation and temporary housing services to undocumented immigrants in the state for any reason at all. Churches and faith groups whose very mission requires providing transportation to parishioners without regard to their status will now be exposing themselves to legal jeopardy if they give undocumented folks so much as a ride to services or go to the doctor or supermarket. In a word, the bill criminalizes charity. But if that is not draconian enough, consider what'll happen to mixed-status families which contains some legal and some undocumented members, hardly an uncommon thing among Hispanic communities. It'll become difficult for all of them to even drive together in the same vehicle without the legal ones courting jail (and the undocumented ones of course deportation).

In addition, the bill will stiffen the penalties on employers that hire undocumented people, even imposing the so-called business death penalty by revoking their business licenses. Shutting down American businesses is a curious way to protect American jobs but, truth be told, many other states have tried this idiocy before Florida. Arizona, until recently Ground Zero for draconian immigration enforcement, has already been there and done that with its 2010 Legal Arizona Workers Act. Its effect on the economy was so devastating that the state was forced to stop enforcing the law.

Posted by at April 19, 2023 12:00 AM