Florida (May 15, 2023) – The State of Florida recently passed new legislation (SB1718) regulating the hiring, transportation, and medical treatment of undocumented immigrants. Specifically, the bill that was signed into law prescribes the actions that employers must take to verify employment eligibility and sets forth reporting requirements for hospitals that treat undocumented immigrants. It also imposes penalties for engaging in various activities involving these individuals.
The law, which will be effective on July 1, 2023, mandates that private employers with 25 or more employees, as well as public employers, use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of their employees. Moreover, the legislation imposes a fine of $1,000 per day on employers who fail to use the program. The E-Verify program – created in 1996 and essentially voluntary until now – electronically confirms employment eligibility of all newly hired employees through the databases of the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Utilization of the E-Verify program will now be required in addition to the mandatory Form I-9 completion and retention mandates that apply to all employers.
In addition, Florida's new law, in part:
- Suspends licenses of any employer who knowingly employs undocumented immigrants, and makes using a fake ID to gain employment a felony;
- Enhances penalties for human smuggling, including knowingly transporting five or more undocumented immigrants;
- Invalidates all out-of-state drivers' licenses issued exclusively to undocumented immigrants, and bans local governments and NGOs from issuing identification documents to undocumented immigrants; and
- States that hospitals must now collect and report healthcare costs for undocumented immigrants.
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