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DeSantis Signs Laws to Enhance Penalties for Undocumented Immigrants in Florida

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed new legislation aimed at imposing harsher sentences on undocumented immigrants for specific crimes.

Background

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DeSantis is a vocal critic of the federal government’s border policies.

He has taken several actions to address the issue in his home state, as well as supporting Texas in its struggle to keep undocumented immigrants out.

Legislative Measures

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The new laws increase incarceration durations for undocumented immigrants found guilty of driving without a license or committing felonies, reflecting Florida’s zero-tolerance stance on illegal immigration and related lawlessness.

Driver’s License Legislation

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Under the new laws, those caught driving without a license more than once might have to serve up to a full year of jail time, up from just 60 days previously.

The law holds even for U.S. citizens, not just for undocumented immigrants.

Criticism From Advocacy Groups

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Organizations that support immigrants argue that the legislation will impact public safety since it would mean more untested, uninsured, and unlicensed drivers on the road.

The Argument for Safety

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Driving safety proponents suggest that the better method would be to educate rather than bring in penal measures.

Increased Sentences for Felonies

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Immigrants previously deported and caught committing a felony are the target of another measure signed by DeSantis. 

The Impact on Sentencing

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Under the new laws, convictions for various felony offenses will dramatically increase maximum sentences.

Life Imprisonment Sentences in Some Cases

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Certain crimes will potentially result in life imprisonment for undocumented immigrants who re-enter the U.S. illegally.

Response From Civil Rights Organizations

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At the time of reporting, prominent civil rights and immigrant advocacy groups had not commented on the legislation’s implications for undocumented immigrants in Florida.

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