Florida SB 1718: Understand Your Rights as an Immigrant

Florida SB 1718 - Know Your Rights as an Immigrant

On May 10th, 2023, a new immigration law was signed into law by Governor DeSantis. This new Senate-approved Bill, SB 1718, will go into effect on July 1st of, 2023. Understanding why this Bill is so important is crucial because it’s the most anti-immigrant law passed since the Trump administration. In addition, SB 1718 will affect people who are not and are documented, which includes green card holders. 

Starting on July 1st of this year, this Bill makes e-verify mandatory for any employer with 25 or more employees who have people working for them who are undocumented, and the employer is subject to suspension, revocation of their license, and other penalties. 

If you need additional guidance or have questions, our immigration law firm in New Jersey can help. In addition, we work with clients locally, nationwide, and internationally.

Why is the SB 1718 bill such an issue for immigrants?

This federal law will look to suspend employers’ licenses and other penalties. As an immigrant, how would this affect me? I am not an employer. However, in Florida, in the industries such as family business, construction, and hospitality, at least 40% of people working for these industries are undocumented.

The problem is if you don’t have undocumented people working in these areas, the price of goods related to these industries will significantly increase. As undocumented immigrants wait for papers and approvals, these lower-paying industry-type jobs are typically how immigrants pay for their bills and how they live. The domino effect of this is very concerning and scary.

Examples of what SB 1718 means for employers and immigrants

As an employer, if you are harboring an undocumented person, you could face felony charges, fines, or even jail time. 

For example, If you have an undocumented person in your car and the police stop you, according to this Florida bill, the person could face a felony charge. 

This law is impinging on your rights because you are opening yourself up to be criminally charged for transporting someone in your car. In addition, it is unrealistic to ask everyone with you to see their immigration document.

This Florida law invalidates IDs from other states such as New York, Massachusetts and California that allow undocumented people get driver’s licenses. In essence, you cannot drive in Florida if you are undocumented. 

If you are involved in an accident, you want to make sure that the other person has insurance. However, if people are not allowed to have driver’s licenses, they cannot get insurance, which endangers everybody. 

SB 1718 also requires hospitals that accept Medicare to collect and submit data provided to them about undocumented people.  The hospital is required to ask if the person seeking treatment has legal status in the United States.  This will create a chilling effect for undocumented people as they will be afraid to seek medical assistance.  

Victims of trafficking will be effectively silenced because they will be afraid to get treatment, get help or report their abuse. In addition, they will be afraid to discuss their abuse with the government or law enforcement agencies.

The new Florida law impinges on Federal Immigration laws and will likely not pass constitutional muster.   

Our immigration law firm works with clients in all 50 states, and we have recently been getting a lot of calls from clients asking if they should leave Florida. Of course, we prefer our clients to live in immigrant-friendly states. However, we understand that not everyone can live in an immigrant-friendly state. If you can’t move away, you must be careful and fully understand your rights as an immigrant, documented or undocumented.

Understand your rights as a documented or undocumented immigrant

If you are a documented or undocumented immigrant and are approached, ask if I am free to go before you say your name or anything else. If they say yes, then you should say I don’t want to answer your question, or I’d rather not speak with you right now and walk away calmly
and politely.

If they say no, then use your right to remain silent. You can say I want to use my right to remain silent or speak to a lawyer, and you do not have to answer any questions.

Understand that you still have this right even if you are not documented. You can tell an immigration office you do not consent to a search. However, you mustn’t lie, don’t flee, or show false documents, and most importantly, don’t resist arrest.

You do not have to answer questions about your immigration status or where you are born. An immigration office can use the information you provide against them. Also, do not provide an officer with documents such as your passports, IDs, or expired visas. If an officer wants to enter your home, ask to see a warrant signed by a judge. If an officer does not have a warrant, they cannot enter the house without permission from an adult. Again, you can tell an immigration office you do not consent to a search. However, you mustn’t lie, don’t flee, or show false documents, and most importantly, don’t resist arrest. Also, it’s important to remember should not sign any documents without an attorney present.

Our Immigration Law Firm Works With Clients Locally, Nationwide, And Internationally.​

If you have any additional questions about SB 1718 or you are looking for immigration services, don’t hesitate to contact the Odunlami Law Firm at 973-993-1900 or email us at support@odunlamilaw.com. We can help you will your immigration needs.

Areas of Immigration Law:

  • Naturalization (Citizenship) Application
  • Immigrant Relative Petitions
  • Fiancé Visa Applications
  • Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing
  • Criminal Consequences and Deportation Defense
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Application
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • Green Card Renewals


Schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney and get your case started today.
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