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Florida Senate Bill 1718 Explained

Florida Senate Bill 1718 has been receiving a lot of attention recently. Signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, the bill is a comprehensive effort to restrict the ability of undocumented individuals to live and work in Florida. Going into effect on July 1, the law will affect Florida employers and undocumented immigrants for the foreseeable future.

The last action on Senate Bill 1718 Florida took place on May 11 and will go down as one of the strongest legislative action affecting immigrants in Florida. If you’re an employer looking to operate according to the law, this law requires your attention.

Detailed information about Florida’s Senate Bill 1718, also known as the Immigration Bill, is provided below.

What is the E-Verify Process?

Executive Order 12781, issued by President George H.W. Bush issued on November 20, 1991, approving the development of demonstration projects for new methods of determining an applicant’s eligibility for employment.

Initially established in 1996, the Basic Pilot Program was intended to prevent companies from hiring people who had violated immigration laws and entered the United States illegally. Renamed and deployed in 2007, the internet-based system, E-Verify was created to help enrolled employers confirm their employees’ employment eligibility.

The employee’s Form I-9 information is taken and electronically compared to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records as part of E-Verify.

Currently, 27 U.S. States mandate the use of E-Verify by some or all employers. Now, 27 U.S. states require using E-Verify by some or all companies.

Florida’s Senate Bill 1718 Florida

In response to growing immigration issues, Governor DeSantis This bill, signed into law, will take effect July 1. The new law requires Florida businesses who have 25 employees or more to use an e-verification process to confirm an employee’s work status.

The process is intended to ensure that only people legally eligible to work in the United States are employed by Florida companies. You need to understand some details as you move forward and ensure your company’s compliance.

New Employment Rules in Florida Senate Bill 1718

Beginning July 1, 2023, it will be mandatory for Florida companies who have 25 employees or more to use the federal E-Verify process to vet all company employees for their work eligibility. A quick process, companies will be able to register their business in the E-Verify portal.

From there, they can input their employee information and the system will run a background check to make sure that they are eligible to work in the United States. Employers will need to make certain that they have the required documentation available at the time of enrolling in the portal to verify the employees’ employment eligibility.


Identification Documents Restrictions

Yet another measure intended to limit illegal immigration and to crack down on ways people have been able to slip through the cracks is the restrictions on driver’s licenses and ID cards.

Driver’s licenses or ID cards issued to non-citizens in other states will no longer be valid in Florida. Additionally, local governments will be prohibited from funding the issuance of driver’s license or identity cards for undocumented residents. This licensing restriction extends to professional licenses as well.

Healthcare Involvement in Florida Senate Bill 1718

Let’s consider healthcare facilities’ role in this new policy. Per Senate Bill 1718, there are new rules for Hospitals that receive Medicaid reimbursements from federal and state governments. Healthcare providers who take Medicaid must collect data on patients’ citizenship status. They will now be required to keep track of the money used to treat illegal immigrants in their emergency departments.

The hospital must report this information to the state and Agency for Health Care Administration.

Unauthorized Alien Transport Program

Florida’s new law also creates a program to transport undocumented foreign nationals around the United States. Bill 1718 provides $12 million to the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program, a part of the Division of Emergency Management. This initiative was born from DeSantis’s previous year’s transportation of immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.

Penalties Under Florida Bill 1718

Keep in mind that there are penalties in place and, for some infractions, criminal implications for non-compliance with the new Florida law.

Employer Non-Compliance with Employment Rules

Florida Senate Bill 1718 creates penalties for employers that do not comply with the E-Verify requirements beginning July 1st and face a fine of $1,000 per day until the error is rectified.

After receiving constructive information that an employee or prospective employee is an unauthorized alien, employers cannot employ or continue to hire the individual.

After receiving constructive information that an individual is illegal, employers cannot continue to employ an illegal alien. It is unlawful to knowingly hire, hire, recruit, or refer any person not authorized to work under immigration law or the Attorney General of the United States under Florida Statute Section 448.09.

Penalties for employers that knowingly employ illegal aliens are outlined in this law, which imposes fines of $1,000 on the first offense and a $2,500 fine or a misdemeanor offense in connection with subsequent infringements.

Furthermore, employers may be subject to suspension or revocation of all applicable State licenses. They may be required to pay back any economic development incentives they receive from the State.


False Identification Documents

Undocumented immigrants caught using fake identification documents will now face more severe consequences than before. Specifically, they will be charged with committing a third-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and five years of probationary supervision.

Transporting Illegal Immigrants into Florida

Florida Senate Bill 1718 outlines that anyone transporting an illegal person into the state will be held accountable for human smuggling.

Illegal transportation of undocumented persons is a felony that can land someone in prison for upward of 15 years, depending on the nature of the situation. The law also strengthens organized smuggling under the state’s RICO statute. This situation can lead to prison time upward of 30 years and a $10,000 fine.

The State’s Role and Powers

The new law significantly expands the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) responsibilities to cover I-9 audits and other aspects of immigration enforcement. Per Senate Bill 1718, statewide domestic security professionals can work alongside federal authorities. 

Florida law enforcement professionals will also have more power to vet a person’s legal status and enforce federal law. Additionally, they can collect a DNA sample of someone in custody who has been issued an immigration detainer. 

What Florida Employers Need to Do

Seeking the assistance of a business attorney can provide the needed guidance to ensure your

company’s compliance. A knowledgeable business lawyer will let you know whether this law applies to your company and will answer any questions that you have.

Most importantly, register for the E-Verify portal as quickly as possible. Familiarize yourself with the portal and the process to hit the ground running by July 1. This way, you will not question whether your company is following the law and won’t have to worry about any potential penalties with the territory.

The best thing that you can do is get in compliance today. If you wait too long, you run a higher risk of dealing with penalties and scrambling at the last second to learn the E-Verify system. 

When you speak to a lawyer, they can also help you comply and ensure that everyone on your payroll is legally verified. 

Stay Abreast of the Law

Now that you are up to speed on Senate Bill 1718 Florida, you must do what’s required to manage your company accordingly.

Ensure you get the legal help you need from professionals in your area. Boyer Law Firm can help you through the process to ensure you’re in compliance and can get assistance on this and other issues. Shoot us a message using our online contact form, or get in touch at (904)236-5317 in Jacksonville, (407)574-2573 in Orlando, and (305)921-9665 in Miami. 

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