DeSantis signs controversial new immigration bill; White House calls it political stunt

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The crisis at the southern U.S. border is one of the country’s biggest political issues.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made it one of his as well.

“It’s causing huge problems and it’s going to get a lot worse with the expiration of Title 42,” said DeSantis.

On Wednesday he signed a sweeping immigration bill into law.

It’s one of the state’s most controversial new laws that will no doubt affect families and industries in South Florida.

It even got a response from the Biden administration late Wednesday, calling it the governor’s political stunt.

The governor and conservative legislature calls the new law an answer to the surge of migrants at the border, plus political inaction to fix complicated humanitarian and security issues.

The wide-ranging law requires employers to check worker status through E-Verify, raises penalties for human trafficking, bans undocumented people from getting IDs and drivers licenses and requires hospitals to report costs for their care.

“People are going to come if they get benefits, and so what you want to do is say there’s not benefits for coming illegally,” DeSantis said.

Democrats and South Florida advocates call the new law overboard.

“There are federal dollars dedicated to that, so there has doesn’t have to be a state charge for any of the things that we’re talking about,” said Florida State Rep. Dotie Joseph (D, FL 108).

Added immigrant advocate Thomas Kennedy: “We’re really just hard-working people that want to be left alone that want to protect and support their families.”

The new law also funds a migrant transport program, which is a more official version of the Florida tax-funded trips for 50 Venezuelans taken from the border to Martha’s Vineyard last year.

The state selected three companies to carry out the transport program. One was the company paid to do the original flights that was actually paid for more than it carried out.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."