Governor Ron DeSantis Proposes Comprehensive Legislation to Crack Down on Immigration

On Thursday, February 23, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proposed comprehensive legislation that would require all Florida employers to use the federal E-Verify database to ensure they are only hiring people with a legal right to work in the U.S.[0] He also proposed increased penalties for human smuggling, prohibition of local governments issuing identification cards to unauthorized immigrants, and invalidation of out-of-state licenses issued to unauthorized aliens.[0]

The proposal would make it a felony offense to use false identification to obtain employment, and a third-degree felony to knowingly transport, conceal, or harbor an illegal alien within or into the state, with a separate offense for each individual. A second-degree felony would be imposed if the person being transported is a minor. The proposal also mandates that hospitals collect data on the immigration status of patients and the costs to provide care to illegal aliens, and submit reports to the Governor and Legislature.[1]

DeSantis also wants to remove any paths that undocumented immigrants currently have to obtain a legal identity in the United States, including out-of-state tuition waivers.[2] He also wants to require those registering to vote to affirm they are U.S. citizens and legal residents of Florida, prevent illegal foreign nationals from being admitted to practice law in Florida, and eliminate out-of-state tuition fee waivers for illegal foreign national students.[3]

In addition, the legislation would create an Unauthorized Alien Transport Program to relocate migrants if they have been processed by the federal government, providing $10 million to transport migrants from Florida and other states to sanctuary areas.[4]

DeSantis criticized President Joe Biden’s immigration policies, saying: “This country is unable to control its own borders. If you remove the enticement of employment, then they’re not going to want to come illegally to the state of Florida.”[5] He also said: “Florida is a law and order state, and we won’t turn a blind eye to the dangers of Biden’s Border Crisis. We will continue to take steps to protect Floridians from reckless federal open border policies.”[6]

The proposal is expected to be heard by the Florida legislature, and if passed will take effect in the coming months.[7]

0. “Governor Proposes Legislation to Require All Florida Employers to Use E-Verify” WQCS, 23 Feb. 2023,

1. “DeSantis wants new restrictions on undocumented students and workers” Business Insider, 23 Feb. 2023,

2. “DeSantis wants to remove ‘enticement of employment,’ increase criminal charges for illegal immigration” South Florida Sun Sentinel, 23 Feb. 2023,

3. “Florida’s Ron DeSantis announces new initiative to combat illegal immigration” Alabama Today, 24 Feb. 2023,

4. “DeSantis signs relocation bill, shifting migrant program to Emergency Management” Miami Herald, 15 Feb. 2023,

5. “DeSantis proposes statewide legislation to crack down on illegal immigration” WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale, 24 Feb. 2023,

6. “Ron DeSantis Calls Out Republicans on Immigration” Newsweek, 23 Feb. 2023,

7. “Gov. Ron DeSantis outlines sweeping immigration reforms, employer mandates” The Capitolist, 23 Feb. 2023,

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