One of the country’s strictest immigration laws, Florida’s SB 1718, went into effect on July 1, 2023, and construction businesses in the state are already feeling its impact.
The new law, signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in May, makes it a third-degree felony to use false identification to obtain a job. Any person who transports undocumented immigrants into the state may also be charged with a third-degree felony.
As for businesses that knowingly employ unauthorized immigrants? They could face fines and have their business licenses revoked.
The Wall Street Journal reported that migrant workers began moving out of Florida after DeSantis signed the law in May, and the exodus continues, leaving many construction companies with compounding labor shortages.
Co-President of Coastal Construction told the Journal that while his business supports the documentation of the immigrant workforce, “the new law is aggravating an already trying situation.”
While the short-term impact on an already-shallow labor force could be crippling for construction companies, the long-term ramifications of this law on the industry remain to be seen, including whether or not other states will follow suit and enact similar immigration laws.