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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Some members of the Tampa’s Hispanic community plan to stand together in silent protest on Thursday. The demonstration is a show of opposition against Florida’s new immigration law.
Leaders with the Farmworkers Association of Florida say they cannot ignore concerns about Senate Bill 1718. A representative with the organization says, “There are about 500,000 farmworkers in Florida and an estimated 300,000 of them are undocumented.”
The new law requires businesses with 25 or more employees to use a federal system to check new workers’ immigration status, restricts social services for immigrants who are undocumented and provides an extra $12 million for a migrant relocation program.
According to Governor Ron DeSantis, the guidelines are a way to keep undocumented immigrants out of Florida.
“People say, ‘Florida you’re not on the border, what do you care?’”, DeSantis previously said, “Well, we had an illegal alien drive a front loader at a construction site that killed a sheriff’s deputy.”
Thursday, protests are planned in cities around Florida. Additionally, some businesses are closing for the day. Critics say the requirements are bad for the economy and could cripple Florida’s agriculture industry.
Members of the Farmworkers Association of Florida said, “They are already struggling to find people to do the work. I think we could see a lot of crop loss.”
Tampa’s silent protest will be held at the corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Columbus Drive. The law goes into effect July 1.