JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — At a news conference Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an immigration bill sent to his desk by the Florida legislature.
DeSantis decried “Biden’s border crisis” as he spoke at Miller Electric Company in Jacksonville’s Southpoint area.
“We’re bracing for some turbulent times ahead when you have a president who has turned a blind eye to what’s gone on at the border,” DeSantis said. “I don’t think he’s even visited the border the whole time he’s been in office.”
President Biden toured the southern border in El Paso this January.
The 43-page bill, SB-1718, invalidates any driver’s licenses or ID cards issued to “unauthorized immigrants” in other states. It also requires hospitals to collect information regarding patients’ immigration status on admission forms and requires them to submit that information to the state.
DeSantis pointed out that is already against the law for employers to hire undocumented people, but added that the bill’s new requirements for the E-Verify system will “make it enforceable.”
The bill also establishes a “Domestic Security Oversight Council” made up of various state officials and law enforcement. The council will “provide executive direction and leadership with respect to terrorism and immigration enforcement incident prevention, preparation, protection, response and recovery efforts,” according to the text of the bill.
HB-1718 also removes language from Florida State Statutes that allows people who were brought into the country illegally as children (known as “Dreamers”) to practice law in the state.
Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke at the news conference regarding crime committed by what he called “illegal aliens.” He thanked DeSantis and Republican leadership in the legislature for “taking tragedy and turning it into something good.”
Nienhuis discussed the case of Pinellas County Deputy Sheriff Michael Hartwick, who died while on duty in September 2022. Hartwick was struck by a forklift driven by an undocumented construction worker.
You can read the full text of SB-1718 here.