Florida’s sweeping immigration law has been in effect for about six weeks.

And since it was signed back in May, reports indicate that hundreds of undocumented workers have left the state every week.


Florida’s immigration law is one of the toughest in the nation. It is meant to crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers. It requires private employers with 25 or more employees to use E-Verify to determine if a person has work authorization or face fines.

Individuals who use falsified or invalid documents to get work authorization can also face criminal penalties.

Read: Organizations file lawsuit against state’s new immigration policy

And now Florida has also invalidated out-of-state driver’s licenses that are given to undocumented immigrants.

Just after the bill was signed, Gilberto al Volante took videos posted on YouTube, documenting what he says he saw at Central Florida construction saying that a site that is usually filled with workers wasn’t anymore.

“This is what you hear today, so it is happening. It is not fake. It is not a joke. This all thanks to Ron DeSantis,” he said.

Read: ‘Destructive’: Central Florida communities protest new immigration laws that take effect Saturday

We can’t verify those claims, but what we do know is that contractors who own these companies are struggling.

Greg Batista of G. Batista Engineering & Construction said the law is no doubt why so many undocumented immigrants are leaving the state.

“They are actually leaving, I know first hand. I know from having my own construction company and now many people who have their own construction company that this is adversely affecting an already challenged labor force,” Batista said.

immigration law;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “>Read: Local Puerto Rican organization helps undocumented people ahead of new immigration law

There are more than 770,000 undocumented people in Florida, most working in agriculture, hospitality and construction, but some contractors believe that number could change.

“They tell me directly they have better opportunities in adjoining states, and that is not good,” Batista said.

It is hard to know just how many immigrants may have left the state since the law went into effect. Organizations helping undocumented workers say they calculate it right now by word of mouth.

florida-immigrant-community-members-say-they-fear-impact-new-immigration-law/3LGXC5G4SRCS3PG7ZVP7DZQ56Q/” data-ylk=”slk:Read: Central Florida immigrant community members say they fear impact of new immigration law;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “>Read: Central Florida immigrant community members say they fear impact of new immigration law

The state of Florida has not tracked how many workers have left the state or why. DeSantis said at a stop in Sarasota that the law is the right thing to do saying, “You can’t build an economy on illegality.”

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