Georgians who transport undocumented immigrants into Florida can now face human trafficking charges

Florida Ron DeSantis waves as he gives his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

A series of sweeping immigration reforms in Florida are also causing concern among nearby immigrant communities in Georgia.

One bill signed into law this week will charge citizens who knowingly drive an undocumented person across the border into Florida with a third-degree felony — specifically human trafficking and smuggling. Under the law, out-of-state drivers licenses issued to undocumented people are no longer valid in Florida.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed S.B. 1718 into law Wednesday. Other penalties and restrictions include requiring hospitals that accept Medicaid to ask patients about their citizenship status, and funneling $12 million dollars into DeSantis’ controversial “unauthorized alien transport program.”

DeSantis said at the time he signed the bill that in Florida, “we will not stand idly by while the federal government abandons its lawful duties to protect our country.”

Jonathan Webber, Florida Policy Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, sat down with WABE’s “Morning Edition” to discuss what’s most important for Georgians to know about these penalties right across the state border.

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.