A new proposed bill in Florida aims to punish both undocumented immigrants and individuals associated with undocumented immigrants. The bills would expose people to felony charges for sheltering, hiring and transporting undocumented immigrants; require hospitals to ask patients their immigration status and report to the state; invalidate out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to undocumented immigrants; prevent undocumented immigrants from being admitted to the bar in Florida; and direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to provide assistance to federal authorities in enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.
On top of all this, DeSantis has called for scrapping undocumented students’ access to in-state tuition.
The sum effect of these laws is that undocumented immigrants — and anyone else who might be suspected to be one — would face new, intrusive levels of scrutiny and potential arrest in countless scenarios. Making it a felony to house, hire or transport an undocumented immigrant — punishable by up to five years in prison — could inspire a new wave of citizen surveillance, suspicion and severance of social ties from landlords, employers, colleagues, lawyers, roommates and neighbors.
One particularly cruel aspect of the new policies would be that undocumented immigrants might avoid going to the hospital out of fear of being identified.
One particularly cruel aspect of the new policies would be that undocumented immigrants might avoid going to the hospital out of fear of being identified. It’s not difficult to see how some undocumented immigrants could die after having hoped a life-threatening emergency might pass to avoid being flagged to the authorities.
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