Senator Garcia, District 36 — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2023
Senator Ileana Garcia Responds to Misinformation on Legislation to Address Illegal Immigration, Guard Against Human Trafficking
Florida State Senator Ileana Garcia (R-Miami) today responded to misinformation regarding Senate Bill 1718, Immigration, by Senator Blaise Ingoglia (R-Springhill), which recently passed the Senate Committee on Rules with Senator Garcia’s support. The legislation implements several reforms designed to stop the use of illegal identification cards and guard against human trafficking in immigrant communities.
“Senator Ingoglia’s legislation is designed to prevent the use of illegal identification cards in Florida to prevent human trafficking and put a stop to the abuses by unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of the most vulnerable. It’s amazing to what lengths the extreme left and open border activists will go to lie, hoping to instill fear to advance their partisan agenda,” said Senator Garcia. “I hope the press verifies the facts about what the legislation does and does not do, instead of just simply repeating the lies. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs, I’m proud of my record on behalf of our immigrant community, and I look forward to continuing to work on issues that improve the quality of life for all our residents and protect the most vulnerable.”
In federal fiscal year 2020, the U.S. Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations had 646,822 enforcement actions for the year. In 2021, that total increased to over 1.9 million actions, an increase of over 200 percent. The total enforcement actions in 2022 were about 2.8 million, another 41 percent increase, and to date for 2023, the total is already over 1 million. These statistics include individuals “encountered at ports of entry who are seeking lawful admission into the United States but are determined to be inadmissible, individuals presenting themselves to seek humanitarian protection under our laws, and individuals who withdraw an application for admission and return to their countries of origin within a short timeframe.” It is estimated that there are 3 million illegal entries into the United States each year, over and above the amount of encounters that the U.S. Border Patrol has with border-crossers. Full-time professional criminals are facilitating the smuggling of immigrants across the border which generates over $6.75 billion a year from human smuggling.
Senate Bill 1728 addresses this problem in a meaningful way, including the following reforms, among others.
· Expands the crime of human smuggling to include concealing, harboring, or shielding a person who has entered the United States, in violation of the law;
· Enhances the crime of human smuggling in certain circumstances;
· Allows a law enforcement agency to send relevant information obtained to a federal immigration agency;
· Amends the state’s domestic security statutes to provide the necessary authority for the department to coordinate with and provide assistance to the Federal Government in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, and responses to immigration enforcement incidents within or affecting Florida;
· Revises requirements for public and private employers for employment verification, including requiring an employer to retain employment verification documentation used for at least 5 years; altering the defenses for employers using I-9 Form or E-Verify; and amending the penalties for an employer’s noncompliance with the employment verification law, including allowing for private employers, the suspension and revocation of licenses in certain circumstances and the imposition of fines;
· Increases the fines associated with violation of laws prohibiting the employment of unauthorized aliens;
· Creates a third degree felony for an unauthorized alien to knowingly use a false identification document, or who fraudulently uses an identification document of another person, to obtain employment.