How Florida’s Immigration Law Will Affect Construction
Contractors always need to be aware of changes to state and federal laws and how these laws will affect their businesses. In early July, Florida’s immigration law went into effect. The law states that all private employers with 25 or more employees will be required to use the E-Verify system.
The E-Verify system checks a person’s eligibility to work. It asks for proof of citizenship in the United States, which can be verified through birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports, and permanent resident cards (green cards). The problem is that most immigrants don’t have any of these documents, and a lot of immigrants work in the construction industry. They work in carpentry, painting, concrete, and drywall, which are all important parts of a home.
While some have work visas so they are legit, many do not. This can result in a huge blow to construction companies throughout Florida as the E-Verify requirement leads to a shortage of workers. This can be especially challenging with Hurricane Ian causing significant damage in Southwest Florida. Homeowners are moving forward with rebuilding, but many immigrants are the ones doing the actual work.
Florida is enforcing the law, though, and as a result, many immigrants have left the state in search of work elsewhere. A few companies have lost more than 20 employees. This has been an issue, with job sites left unfinished. This has slowed down construction and most likely left homeowners upset.
The law doesn’t mention anything about penalizing companies or immigrant workers. The State of Florida law cannot legally deport anyone. However, those without documentation say it’s not worth the risk to stay in Florida.
In any case, immigrants are scared to stay here. They are upset about the law and having to leave, saying that it singles out the Latino population
So far, the law is doing a job of forcing immigrants out of Florida. While this may seem like a good thing for some people, this is also creating a worker shortage. This could lead to price increases for everyone, and nobody wants that. As it is, it will take longer for any construction work to finish.
Still, immigrants are scared. This law has become one of the strictest in the nation. Florida hospitals that receive Medicaid are now mandated to ask patients about immigration status. Immigrants are on high alert and have become fearful. Some try to drive as little as possible. Others worry about allowing their children to attend school. Others are hiding out and even closing their businesses and moving.
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Not having the right employees to help you with a construction project can be a huge detriment to your company. It can lead to delays as well as financial issues.
At Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A., our Florida construction lawyers understand the challenges of being a business owner as well as the complexities of the law. Schedule a consultation today by calling 561-626-8880 or filling out the online form.