Vicky Arias, FISM News
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced an immigration proposal to combat “Biden’s border crisis,” which has seen a surge in crime and drugs pouring into the country.
WHAT’S THE PLAN?
Gov. DeSantis’ plan proposes “increasing penalties for human smuggling, strengthening statutes for the detention of illegal aliens, requiring universal use of E-Verify, enhancing penalties for document falsification, and prohibiting the issuance by local governments of ID cards to people who are not lawfully in the country.”
Under the plan, those caught smuggling or harboring “illegal aliens” could face a 3rd-degree felony charge and a maximum five-year prison sentence. If the non-citizens being smuggled are minors, that charge is bumped up to a 2nd-degree felony and a 15-year maximum prison sentence.
The State Department explains that, while human smuggling and human trafficking are different, “people who are smuggled can be extremely vulnerable to human trafficking, abuse, and other crimes, as they are illegally present in the country of destination and often owe large debts to their smugglers.”
DeSantis yesterday explained why Florida must take decisive action on immigration policies.
“With this legislation, Florida is continuing to crack down on the smuggling of illegal aliens, stopping municipalities from issuing ID cards to people here illegally, and ensuring that employers are hiring American citizens or those here legally,” DeSantis said. “Florida is a law and order state, and we won’t turn a blind eye to the dangers of Biden’s border crisis. We will continue to take steps to protect Floridians from reckless federal open border policies.”
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
In 2021 and 2022, the first two years of President Biden’s term in office, apprehension of noncitizens with criminal records skyrocketed to the highest they’d been since before 2017, which is as far back as Customs and Border Protection data reflects.
These apprehensions include noncitizens who had previous convictions for — among other crimes — assault, burglary, drug possession, manslaughter, homicide, and sexual offenses. The number of apprehended noncitizens with convictions for manslaughter/homicide and sexual offenses in 2021 and 2022 were at the highest they’ve been since before 2017.
A recent FISM News analysis revealed that the rate of unaccompanied minors attempting to enter the country rose from January 2022 to January 2023. These young individuals are particularly vulnerable to smugglers and traffickers.
According to a 2018 study, “it is estimated that between 75–80% of newly arriving unaccompanied children are victims of human trafficking, as they travel into the U.S. with smugglers who then sell them into forced labor or prostitution.”
In addition to the human smuggling penalties proposed by DeSantis, the Florida governor wants to take action against companies that employ noncitizens who are in the country illegally.
E-VERIFY FOR EMPLOYMENT
DeSantis’ E-Verify stipulation would require employers to authenticate their employee’s immigration status in order for the individual to work for them.
E-Verify is a computer system that compares an employee’s information against data gathered from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration and provides a determination on whether the two data sets match.
Additionally, companies could have their licenses revoked if they fail to comply with the E-Verify program more than twice in a two-year period. It would also become a felony for an individual to present falsified documents for the purpose of gaining work eligibility.
The Center for Immigration Studies, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization, found that “there were 11.35 million illegal immigrants in the country,” as of January 2022. It is unknown what percentage of those millions are illegally employed, as many engaged in the activity keep it concealed.