‘We have to leave’: Illegal immigrants plan to flee Florida after new law goes into effect

Daily Caller News Foundation

Illegal immigrants are looking to flee Florida after a new law in the state of Florida passed, according to people working with migrants who spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law May 10 that criminalizes the act of knowingly transporting migrants into the state who entered the country illegally, requires hospitals to obtain patients’ immigration statuses and provides $12 million to the state to  transport migrants. Some illegal immigrants in the area, however, are reconsidering their future in the state over the crackdown, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official working in California and an immigration worker told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Because of the uncertainty and actions of DeSantis, non-citizens in Florida are looking at other sanctuary cities outside of Florida,” the DHS official told the DCNF.

“A lot of them come here seeking medical benefits and treatments, and with those being difficult to acquire now, a lot of them want to come to states like California, where all those resources are provided,” the DHS official added.

Patricia Andrade, director of Raices Venezolanas Miami, a nongovernmental organization serving Venezuelan immigrants, told DCNF she’s heard from migrants that they fear the use of E-Verify, which is mandatory for many employers in Florida. E-Verify is used by employers to check that job applicants are eligible to work in the country.

“Many are leaving because of E-Verify and some are afraid,” Andrade said.

Roughly 770,000 illegal immigrants live in Florida, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

“We have to leave Florida,” an illegal immigrant living in the Sunshine State for more than a decade told Axios. “I love Florida, I love the weather, I love the people. But I knew we had to leave when I read what was in that law. It isn’t safe.”

DeSantis filed paperwork Wednesday to launch his presidential bid. He is expected to make his formal announcement on a Twitter space with Elon Musk Wednesday evening.

DeSantis has sought to take a hawkish stance on illegal immigration by deploying state resources to the Texas-Mexico border and to Florida’s coastal border. He also transported migrants on flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard on Sept. 14.

Immigration advocates quickly criticized the move and launched legal battles, arguing that DeSantis misled the migrants he was transporting.

“So what you’re saying is… the law is working? Good,” DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw wrote on Twitter of illegal immigrants leaving.

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