According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Florida is home to 1.8 million noncitizen immigrants, making up 8 percent of the state’s total population and a significant component of Florida’s construction labor force.

A New Law

A new law, which went into effect July 1, makes the documentation process for these workers much more complex. According to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office, the law “makes using E-Verify mandatory for any employer with 25 or more employees, imposes enforceable penalties for those employing illegal aliens, and enhances penalties for human smuggling. Additionally, this bill prohibits local governments from issuing Identification Cards (ID) to illegal aliens, invalidates ID cards issued to illegal aliens in other states, and requires hospitals to collect and submit data on the costs of providing health care to illegal aliens.”

In a recent interview with WUSF, Chassity Vega, CEO of the Greater Orlando Builder’s Association said the group is in “an urgent monitoring stage” and the association is reviewing the law and preparing to help its members follow it.”

Potential Impacts

That’s a good thing. For employers, the penalties are heavy. Violations can lead up to fines of $1,000 per day.

For workers, the potential impacts are more personal. Prohibiting the issuance of identification cards will make getting a Florida Drivers License more difficult for this group, which will not only make it more difficult for them to provide the document necessary during the hiring process, but will also likely limit their mobility because they won’t be able to legally operate a motor vehicle to get to and from work or incentivizing workers to move to other states where they can earn more without risk of deportation.

In a recent Reuters article, Mexico’s government said the Florida law was the equivalent of “racial profiling and a hate crime. Criminalization is not the way to solve the issue of undocumented immigration,” the article said. “The existence of transnational labor markets, and the intense ties of trade and tourism between Mexico and Florida, cannot be overlooked by measures inspired by xenophobic and white nationalist sentiments.”

While I have yet to see this in Central Florida, multiple news articles pointed out the real-world impacts of the new law, citing dwindling crews at constructions site across South Florida and suggesting that the new law was compounding an already tight market for skilled and unskilled construction labor.

In one of those articles, Tom Murphy, co-president of Coastal Construction said, “we fully support documentation of the immigrant workforce, the new law is aggravating an already trying situation.”

Available Resources

As construction companies try to adapt to the new realities of the Florida law, a staffing agency can be a valued partner. Agencies, such as KBI Staffing Solutions, already have rosters of vetted skilled and unskilled labor in place and can facilitate getting those workers to the job site in a very short amount of time. For more information about construction staffing, contact me at


By Tiffany Hughes, KBI Staffing