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How the state's new immigration crackdown will affect South Florida

Associated Press

As the pandemic-era policy that expelled migrants who arrived at the border was lifted, a bill cracking down on undocumented immigrants was passed by the Florida legislature.

It came at the end of a contentious 60-day session rife with culture war legislation, driven by Gov. Ron DeSantis' priorities as he eyes a presidential run.

On the South Florida Roundup, WLRN’s Tim Padgett discussed the 2023 Florida legislative session with Nancy Ancrum, the editorial page editor of the Miami Herald; Steve Bousquet, the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s editorial page editor; and Tony Doris, editorial page editor for the Palm Beach Post.

Florida's sweeping immigration bill, signed into law by Gov. DeSantis, includes requiring companies to use a government program to report their employee’s status, declaring it a criminal offense to transport undocumented people into Florida, and making it easier for the governor to expel them from Florida.

“This is a tough law and this is what happens when Congress — the federal government — just will not move on this issue and debate and pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Ancrum said.

READ MORE: DeSantis signs sweeping immigration bill in Jacksonville

Bousquet, of the Sun Sentinel, highlighted the potential consequence the new law could have on businesses in the region.

“The pillars of agriculture and tourism would fall to pieces overnight without immigrant labor and without — in a number of cases, many cases — undocumented immigrant labor. It's just a fact of life in the state and Floridians see it every day,” Bousquet said.

A requirement for hospitals to ask patients if they are in the country legally is among the most contentious parts of the law.

“To force people who are already in difficult situations, to make it more difficult for them or fearful to seek medical care is beyond inhumane. It's just cruel,” Doris, of the Palm Beach Post, said.

On the South Florida Roundup, we also spoke about how other measures that tacitly ban abortion, allow concealed guns to be carried without permits and give wealthy families school vouchers will affect South Florida.

Listen to the full episode above.

Ammy Sanchez, the Morning Edition producer for WLRN, studies communications at the Honors College at Florida International University.
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