On July 1, a new law took effect in Florida: SB 1718/Chapter No. 2023-40.
The New York Times sent Miriam Jordan to the Sunshine State to see what’s going on. Her article, published August 4, is entitled, "New Florida Immigration Rules Start to Strain Some Businesses."
Sounds bad. Or is it?
The article begins thusly:
After signing into law a raft of new measures aimed at undocumented immigrants in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the legislation gave the state “the most ambitious anti-illegal immigration laws in the country.” It would, he said, keep Florida taxpayers from “footing the bill for illegal immigration.” Critics of the law warned that it would come with a price of its own, and a costly one for a state that relies on hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers in agriculture, construction and hospitality.
Put another way, many Florida employers have grown to rely on illegal labor.
So far, the state hasn’t undertaken any sort of sweeping crackdown, and it isn’t clear how aggressively the new law will be enforced. But its effects have begun to ripple through the state, stirring fear in some immigrant communities and frustration among some business owners.
Who’s afraid? It says “some immigrant communities” are afraid. That is, the illegals themselves and those who depend on them.
Such an article is incomplete without discussing the terrifying “labor shortage."
By the sixth paragraph she has invoked that fearsome specter:
A lack of laborers in recent weeks has stalled projects around the state, and costs have started to rise amid competition for a shrinking pool of roofers, masons and painters, according to people in the industry.
An obligatory employer of illegal aliens is quoted:
Juan Baregas, a subcontractor who does framing for a large developer in Central Florida, said that he had lost half of his crew of 40 in recent weeks, limiting his ability to complete projects. Some were authorized to work in the United States but left Florida because they feared for loved ones who weren’t, he said. Forgoing offers to raise their pay, workers relocated to Houston, Washington, D.C. and New York, where jobs were plentiful and unauthorized immigrants felt less vulnerable, Mr. Baregas said. “Maybe this law won’t even be enforced,” he said. “But people feel persecuted. They want to live in peace.”
The law is making a difference.
Tim Conlan, president of Reliant, a roofing company in Jacksonville, said a subcontractor had recently turned down a project after his workers refused to travel to Florida, preferring to stay in Georgia and the Carolinas. He also said that hourly rates for jobs had increased about 10 percent since the bill was signed into law in May.
Did you catch that? Conlan says “hourly rates for jobs had increased about 10 percent since the bill was signed into law in May."
Wages going up for American workers! We can’t have that now, can we?
“This law isn’t getting to a solution,” said Mr. Conlan, who has visited the state capital Tallahassee to press for policies that would allow his industry to legally hire the workers it needs.
To her credit, Ms. Jordan quotes a legislator who voted for the law:
Randy Fine, a Republican state representative who voted in favor of the new law, said that no business should be dependent on illegal immigration and that the state shouldn’t have to shoulder the cost of providing health care and education for unauthorized immigrants. “The state of Florida needs to do what it can to stand up to Joe Biden’s open border policy and protect Floridians from the massive cost of illegal immigration,” Mr. Fine said in an interview. “The purpose of the law is to get illegal immigrants to stop coming to Florida and to get those who are here to leave.”
Well said, Representative Fine!
Does your state require employers to use E-Verify? If not, ask your legislators about it.
You can find more of Allan Wall's work at his website.