On Monday, Mexican President Andrés Obrador complained about Florida Senate Bill 1718, which will make it a state crime to transport illegal immigrants into Florida. The New York Times labeled the DeSantis-backed bill “the toughest crackdown” on illegal immigration by any state in the U.S. “Why does [DeSantis] have to take advantage of people’s pain, of migrants’ pain, of people’s need for political gain. This is immoral. This is politicking,” said the president.
“Now I found out that the Florida governor — imagine, Florida, which is full of migrants — is taking repressive, inhumane measures against migrants in Florida because he wants to be a candidate,” Obrador added. “Can’t he not make another proposal to convince people?”
DeSantis signed the legislation into law on Wednesday and responded to the Mexican president’s comments. “President López Obrador should be cracking down on the cartels running his country and fueling our deadly opioid epidemic instead of worrying about what we are doing in Florida,” DeSantis said. “While President Biden may take his cues from leftist foreign leaders, Floridians won’t let their immigration laws be dictated by Mexico City.”
“I’ll never back down from using the full weight of my office to protect the people of Florida by enforcing our immigration laws, and look forward to signing the strongest legislation against illegal immigration in Florida history,” DeSantis added.
According to DeSantis’ office Bill 1718:
-Requires employers to use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of employees, and fines employers who fail to use E-Verify $1,000 per day.
-Suspends licenses of any employer who knowingly employs illegal aliens, and makes using a fake ID to gain employment a felony.
-Enhances penalties for human smuggling, including making knowingly transporting five or more illegal aliens or a single illegal alien minor a second-degree felony subject to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.
-Provides $12 million to continue the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program to relocate illegal immigrants to sanctuary jurisdictions.
-Bans local governments and NGOs from issuing identification documents to illegal aliens and invalidates all out-of-state driver licenses issued exclusively to illegal aliens.
-Requires hospitals to collect and report healthcare costs for illegal aliens.
The battle of words between the two high-profile politicians comes as Title 42 is set to expire on Thursday and a mass wave of migrants are expected to enter the U.S.