BRADENTON, Fla (WFLA) — Community activists say concerns are rising after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed new immigration legislation this week.
The new legislation requires employers with more than 25 workers to use E-verify, a federal system that checks if a person can legally work in the United States.
Some say that alone will shake up the state’s economy.
“You’re talking about taking away a section of that labor force that really does a lot of the work,” said CJ Garcia with Bold Voter Inc.
Recently, The Farmworkers Association of Florida told 8 On Your Side an estimated 300,000 agricultural workers in the state are undocumented. Leaders believe E-verify will leave farmers scraping for employees.
“Who’s going to pay for that when the crops are in the field rotting? Who’s going to pay, you will, I will,” said Glenn Pearson, Manatee County Democratic Black Caucus.
Meanwhile, a report from the Department of Labor states the construction industry is strapped for workers with 129,000 job openings in February alone.
Manatee County activists say a lot of undocumented people work in that industry as well.
“It’s no stretch to imagine the impact when it comes to roofers or landscapers, these are all things that Floridians will bear the brunt of financially, it’s going to hit you in the pocket,” Pearson said.
Legislation supporters say it’s a way to influence President Joe Biden to take action against the immigration crisis at the U.S. Southern border.
“Until the states push back, which is what we’re doing now, the federal government will never act, we’re trying to force them into acting,” said Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, District 11.