Welcome to FindLaw's coverage of existing Florida legislation and rules related to individuals' immigration status. First off, however, it is important to be aware of the relationship and tension between state and federal law when it comes to subjects involving immigration. Below you will find information on what, if any, rules Florida has regarding immigration checks by law enforcement, educational institutions, and employers, as well as the existence of E-Verify requirements, restrictions on public benefits based on an individual's immigration status, and more.
Law Enforcement and Immigration in Florida
Under a federal program known as "Secure Communities", all individuals arrested are fingerprinted and run through a database which checks their immigration status. Some states are considering and even passing legislation permitting local governments to "opt out" of such programs. Most state and local police authorities have entered into agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that permit them to hold anyone detained on a crime who cannot establish their lawful status for transfer to immigration authorities upon resolution of criminal charges.
Under federal law, employers must verify prospective employees' authorization to work in the United States. For more information, refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules and the requirements for Form I-9.
Florida E-Verify Requirements
Government employers and contractors are required to use E-Verify to verify current and prospective employees' legal work status. Private employers are not currently required to use E-Verify, although multiple laws have been repeatedly proposed to do so.
Driver's License/ID Requirements
In Florida, individuals applying for a new driver's license must provide a number of documents establishing proof of identity, Social Security Number, their residential address, and citizenship or lawful residency in the U.S. Please refer to the Florida DMV site for more information
Public Benefits Restrictions
Under federal law, illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving public benefits, although they are allowed to receive emergency services, health care, and other programs that have been identified as "necessary to protect life and safety."
Florida does not allow children of undocumented aliens to pay in-state tuition rates for state schools. Although legislation has been repeatedly proposed to allow the in-state tuition rates, so far none has been passed.
Voter ID Rules
Florida requires that voters present a photo ID with a signature on it to the appropriate official. Voters who do not have an ID will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, which requires that authorities confirm the voter was entitled to vote (by comparing the voter's signature on the provisional ballot to those that are on file) and didn't cast multiple ballots.
Housing Ordinances and Immigration
Learn Your Rights as an Immigrant: Speak With an Immigration Lawyer Today
Florida is a state of many contradictions. People are drawn to the state because of its excellent climate, beautiful beaches, immaculate golf courses, and bustling nightlife, but alongside these attractions the state is also known for its tough attitudes toward crime and immigration. Contact a local immigration law attorney for help with your legal concerns.
Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you get the best results possible.