Ron DeSantis Takes Break From Punching Queer Kids, Gives Immigrant Kids Their Turn
As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis prepares to run for president, he's not about to make the rookie mistake of relying on rightwing bigots' hatred of LGBTQ+ people to win the GOP nomination. Not when there's so much diversity, equity, and inclusiveness of hate in his party! So to shore up his credentials as the nation's premier practitioner of hate, DeSantis last month called for a range of new measures attacking undocumented immigrants. Among other things, he wants to ban local governments from issuing any identification cards for undocumented people (and invalidate any such identity documents issued by other states), and to ban the issuance of out-of-state tuition waivers for college and university students who aren't citizens or legal aliens.
That last one is a special little bit of evil, since it would undo a 2014 law originally backed by Jeanette Núñez, who's now DeSantis's lieutenant governor; it had allowed "Dreamers" to pay in-state tuition to attend Florida colleges and universities. But even children brought to the US at a very young age are still ILLEGALS, so no breaks for them. "Why would we subsidize a non-US citizen when we want to make sure we can keep it affordable for our own people?" the alleged human being said.
Most of those provisions are crammed into a vile little bill, Florida Senate Bill 1718, that would also make it a felony to transport any undocumented person "into or within this state." Get caught giving a ride anywhere in Florida to someone you know doesn't have papers, and that's a class-three felony in Florida. In addition, the bill criminalizes "concealing, harboring, or shielding from detection" anyone who illegally entered the US, so you could also be a criminal if you knowingly let a Dreamer or any other undocumented person inside your home.
Presumably, since the bill doesn't note any exceptions, you could also become a felon if, say, you're an attorney who gives an undocumented person a ride to a court hearing. After all, that too would make you a trafficker, even in light traffic. And just wait until Florida starts jailing clergy who think their houses of worship are any kind of "sanctuary." We skimmed the bill to see if there's any exception for ambulance drivers, but didn't see one. Maybe that's covered in some other section of Florida law.
Just to be on the safe side, probably best not to drive anyone who speaks Spanish to the hospital, ever.
But as the New Republic details, the anti-immigrant fun is only getting started, because if someone is caught violating any of these provisions a second time, that'll be punished as a second-degree felony.
The bill imposes thousands of dollars of fines on private employers who give work to undocumented people; employers are not allowed to continue employing someone if they find out they are undocumented. And any undocumented person who works without appropriate identification papers would be liable to a third-degree felony. The bill also prohibits undocumented people from being admitted to the Florida bar, overturning standing law that currently allows it.
If the bill is passed into law, Florida would also refuse to recognize any out-of-state licenses issued to undocumented people. Authorities would be directed to take DNA samples from undocumented people who are booked into jails or detention facilities per orders from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
If someone from a state that issues driver licenses regardless of immigration status gets pulled over in Florida, they'll be subject to the same penalties as someone driving without a license, because their license isn't real.
There's still more nastiness here: The bill requires hospitals that accept Medicaid to include a spot on intake forms to indicate whether a patient is in the US legally or not. The bill says this is simply a way to track the costs of caring for undocumented immigrants, and adds that the form must also state that "the response will not affect patient care or result in a report of the patient’s immigration status to immigration authorities."
Reassuring, isn't it? It also doesn't take a genius to see that simply asking the question may dissuade people from seeking healthcare, so good, maybe they'll die because what part of "illegal" doesn't your child's asthma attack understand? You want oxygen, maybe the governor will fly you to Massachusetts and drop you at an airstrip.
[New Republic / Senate Bill 1718 / Base image by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons License 2.0]
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