AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

Draconian Anti-Immigrant Legislation Will Negatively Impact Florida’s Communities and Businesses

5/4/23 AILA Doc. No. 23050405.

Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) condemns two Florida bills, SB1718 and SB264, which will cause harm to communities and businesses throughout the state and beyond. Governor DeSantis is expected to sign both bills.

AILA President Jeremy McKinney stated, “SB1718 is a gut punch to Florida’s future. The law will frighten people away from seeking urgent hospital care and reduce road safety. It will keep families separated and make it harder for houses of worship to serve parishioners. The list of harmful provisions in this bill goes on and on. Like another hurricane, SB1718 will leave a wake of devastation in its path that includes Florida’s businesses, families, immigrant communities, and their loved ones. Regardless of what Governor DeSantis or the Republican super-majority in the Florida legislature believe, immigrants play an essential role in everyday life. This bill follows a path that did not start in Florida. Texas and Arizona passed similar laws scapegoating immigrants and their families, those laws were challenged in court and defeated, and we expect the same result here.”

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added, “There is little doubt that these bills’ sweeping measures will weaken the state in innumerable ways. The overly-broad and discriminatory measures limiting nationals of some countries from buying real estate and owning businesses will hit all Floridians’ wallets. The provisions targeting businesses and healthcare providers will add to the state’s misery, making it a less desirable place to live and do business. A whopping 21 percent of the state’s population is foreign born, so it is not an exaggeration to say that this legislation will touch nearly all the state’s residents or their families. In what world would a governor and lawmakers intentionally undermine a state’s success? It feels like a political play rather than sober lawmaking.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.