Axel Turcios, Scripps News, July 12, 2023
In Florida, the sun is not coming out for everyone.
“I’m the head of my household, I am the one who works hard to send money to my country for my family there,” said an undocumented woman in Spanish, who, fearing retaliation, asked Scripps News to hide her identity.
She says she was fired from her job at a restaurant because she is undocumented.
“That day I went to work like any other normal day. The chef called me and said he had to talk to me. Without an excuse he fired me,” said the woman.
She was let go the same day Florida’s new immigration law went into effect, one championed by the state governor, and now presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.
Florida’s agriculture, construction and hospitality industries are starting to see labor shortages as undocumented workers flee the state.
TURCIOS: How remarkable is the impact of this law just days after taking effect?
JUAN FLORES, IMMIGRATION ACTIVIST: Employees who have been working in construction and hospitality for 8, 10, and 15 years are being fired.
“It hasn’t even been two weeks and we are already hearing of farmworkers who left the state and are afraid of coming back,” said Bozetto.
“Some of them left with up to five family members,” said Flores.
Flores says his non-profit organization, “Fundación 15 de Septiembre” traveled throughout Florida to survey 500 undocumented workers. They found 4 out of 10 surveyed said they were leaving the state.
The Florida Policy Institute, a public policy think tank, says without undocumented workers, some of Florida’s most labor-intensive industries would lose 10% of their workforce.
Under the law, Florida will no longer recognize driver’s licenses from other states who knowingly issue them to undocumented immigrants.
Meanwhile, immigrant advocates have announced they are filing the first lawsuit against the legislation.