September 23, 2023

DON’T GO! Florida GOP lawmakers try to halt emergency as migrant workers flee

Florida GOP lawmakers try to halt emergency as migrant workers flee

Ron DeSantis’s Florida GOP thought it got what it wanted in passing SB 1718, “the toughest immigration law in the nation,” instead they’re getting what they deserve.

The law gave the DeSantis campaign a tank of political fuel in an America First party that believes immigrants are ruining this nation.

It is a given that “the cruelty is the point,” but this law is so cruel that advisories were sent out, urging Hispanics and POC to avoid the dangers awaiting in Florida.

Now, migrants who were working in Florida are leaving, and GOP politicians are terrified, seeing crops rotting in the fields, construction sites halved, and hotel rooms uncleaned.

Deservedly, Republican officials in Florida sense an emergency and have begun begging migrants to stay, admitting the GOP’s duplicity, while lying in saying the law is “political” and not “policy.”

The invaluable Florida Politics reports that “Republican state Representatives urged a group of Hispanic religious leaders to counsel their flocks not to abandon their jobs in Florida — even if they are not in the country legally.”

The cynicism and utter shamelessness are both breathtaking and in the open.

Republican Reps. Alina Garcia and Rick Roth spoke to Hispanic religious leaders at a Hialeah Hispanic Ministers Association of South Florida meeting, as reported in Florida Politics. 

“The lawmakers said the new law is meant ‘more as a political bill, not policy.’ And it’s meant to keep undocumented migrants from coming to Florida — not to affect those who are already here.

But the bad publicity about the law is already having an effect, Roth said.”

The report quoted a farmer who stated that he and other farmers are “mad as hell.”

He complained that the migrant workers “are already starting to move to Georgia and other states.“

If the farmers are “mad as hell,” so are contractors and hotel operators.

Who could possibly have seen this coming, other than literally everyone without a political agenda?

This site has repeatedly noted that if every migrant, legal or illegal, were instantly removed from Florida, the economy would collapse in a week.

The analysis didn’t require genius insight, just common sense.

Now Republicans are panicking because they passed a law so cruel that migrants are urgently removing themselves from the state.

If the bill was 100% meant to “scare” others, why wouldn’t it scare migrants, documented or undocumented, already in Florida?

The statement is a lie infused with a level of condescension that is almost impossible to achieve, even for veteran GOP officials.

The law says that any hospital that accepts Medicaid (a program for the poor) must check a patient’s immigration status.

A large clinic or private hospital that only accepts private health insurance held by wealthier individuals is under no obligation to check immigration status.

The state wants the records, names, addresses, etc., of undocumented and seasonal migrants, which, of course, includes migrants already in Florida, keeping Florida’s economy alive.

A migrant could be released from the hospital directly into the arms of an ICE official, ready to deport that person.

But “it’s more of a political bill, not policy.”

Consider this, Florida finds itself in such an emergency that GOP officials are now both A) obviously lying, and B) willing to expose their own hypocrisy.

And where is the governor during this burgeoning emergency?

Yesterday, DeSantis was in Tallahassee, accused of arranging two flights of refugees to be sent to Sacramento, California, an act that California is investigating as a criminal matter.

DeSantis did not attend the meeting of Hispanic religious leaders or address the possibly devastating economic consequences of his political bill and the community backlash.

If Florida has to take a massive economic blow for DeSantis to win the GOP nomination, DeSantis’s silence indicates that Florida will just have to take the blow.

OH!! And it’s worth noting that today Ron DeSantis is in Arizona at the Mexican border, for an official “roundtable meeting.”

And it’s not a campaign event. He’s using Florida’s money to conduct “official state business” on the immigration “problem.”

Employers in his state are “mad as hell,” the economy is already suffering as workers flee, and the GOP fears a massive backlash.

Ironically and fittingly, the “immigration problem” in Florida is that migrants are leaving.

I can be reached at and on Twitter @JasonMiciak. 

Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.

Jason Miciak

Jason Miciak is an associate editor and opinion writer for Occupy Democrats. He's a Canadian-American who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a trained attorney, but for the last five years, he's devoted his time to writing political news and analysis. He enjoys life on the Gulf Coast as a single dad to a 15-year-old daughter. Hobbies include flower pots, cooking, and doing what his daughter tells him they're doing. Sign up to get all of my posts by email right here: