JACKSONVILLE, Fla — A win for Governor Ron DeSantis passed in the Florida legislature Tuesday: a bill to crack down on immigration.
Once the governor signs it, all government agencies in the state will be prohibited from doing business with transportation companies that bring immigrants who are in the country illegally into Florida.
Senate Bill 1808 passed along party lines. Republicans in the Florida legislature argue illegal immigration must be addressed immediately, but Democrats and many immigration activists argue the bill could impact children and refugees from places like Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Immigration lawyers say the bill shows a poor understanding of federal immigration code, which could lead to unintended consequences. Immigrants can be "unauthorized" but still be considered "admissible."
Activists for Venezuelan immigrants call the bill a direct attack on the Venezuelan community, saying many people with Temporary Protected Status could count in the bill if their work permits are delayed because of backlogs at federal immigration offices.
However, Republicans argue the bill would not impact unaccompanied minors, people protected under DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or people with Temporary Protected Status.
This all goes back to what DeSantis said in Jacksonville in December when he discussed the term he coined "midnight flights." He was referring to planes bringing illegal immigrants into the state.
In December First Coast News asked Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams about the scope of crime regarding undocumented people in Jacksonville.
"It's hard to say as it relates to this recent influx of people and it may not materialize for several weeks or months," Williams said. "But it's the risk element is why we're talking about it today."
DeSantis is expected to sign the bill.