Governor Ron DeSantis’ aggressive stance on undocumented migrants in Florida continues to gain traction in the Republican-led Legislature, with new sanctions being proposed. A bill is set to pass which will give $12 million to the “governor’s program flying migrants to Democratic states, among other measures.”
DeSantis, who is widely expected to announce his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination soon, unveiled his immigration plan at a February event in Jacksonville, where he criticized what he called “Biden’s Border Crisis.” While almost every other requirement, penalty, or limit on undocumented immigrants that DeSantis wants is included in the bills that are nearing the House and Senate floors, the in-state tuition ban has yet to be included.
The legislation, known as CS/HB 1617, was recently approved by the House Commerce Committee in a mostly party-line vote. It includes provisions to strengthen employment requirements, authorize state law enforcement officials to conduct random audits of businesses suspected of hiring undocumented workers, and increase criminal penalties for human smuggling. However, opponents of the legislation have expressed concerns that the increased penalties for human smuggling could inadvertently target friends or family members who are simply providing transportation to migrants within the town.
DeSantis’ immigration plan has been a central focus of his political agenda, and he has been vocal about his intentions to crack down on undocumented migrants in Florida. The absence of the in-state tuition ban in the current legislation may be a disappointment for DeSantis, but it remains to be seen if he will continue to push for its inclusion as the Legislature’s closing weeks approach. As DeSantis gears up for a potential presidential campaign, his stance on immigration and his efforts to impose tougher sanctions on undocumented migrants in Florida are likely to remain in the spotlight.