tags: , , , , Blog

Ron DeSantis Imagines a United States Without Immigration

Share This:

An ongoing report of Ron DeSantis’ Anti-Immigrant Activity


Update as of July 26th, 2023

Presidential Campaign Launch 

As of May 2023, DeSantis formally announced his unsurprising Presidential run for the 2024 election. The never-ending messaging of going “anti-woke” and pushing extreme anti-immigrant legislation has all played a part into forecasting what his presidential campaign will look like. His announcement came casually planned on a Twitter Spaces with Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter who allowed far-right figures back on Twitter after they were banned for promoting hate messaging and disinformation. Not only is Musk letting them back onto the platform due to free speech, but he regularly interacts with them and puts them in the center spotlight. This was the perfect way for DeSantis to announce his campaign for the presidency, in a virtual room plagued with errors, full of right-wing, insular, terminally online supporters. His announcement did not shy away from his usual ugly campaign tactics, talking about “America’s sovereignty” and how he will “shut down the border, construct the border wall, and hold the drug cartels accountable” as he touted investing in extreme anti-immigrant law in Florida and even used his kidnapping plot of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard as evidence, despite the negative human and economic consequences it has had. DeSantis’ only selling point of his campaign announcement was resentment and fear.

While his intentions were to be different from his counterpart, Donald Trump, using a historically glitchy Twitter Spaces backfired on DeSantis and was barely heard. According to The New York Times, only 300,000 concurrent listeners listened in, which is far lower than a previous Twitter Space held by Musk with more than 3 million concurrent listeners the month before. The past months of his political choreography of attacking vulnerable communities was not enough to cover his flopped announcement.

The Cost of DeSantis’ Show-Me-Your Papers Law in Florida

DeSantis governs Florida like his own presidential campaign ad to prove that he is more or less a right winged extremist like Trump. He has pushed the xenophobic, anti-immigrant legislation SB 1718 that has caused immigrant workers to flee worksites, criminalizes Floridians for transporting undocumented family members or friends into the state, mandates emergency rooms to collect the immigration status of their patients, and funds removal of undocumented immigrants from Florida to “blue states”.  This package of cruel measures is similar to Arizona’s “Show me your paper” law, making it the worst anti-immigrant law at the state level and targets the immigrant community as a whole in Florida. As DeSantis himself states, this anti-immigration law as “the toughest crackdown on undocumented immigration by any state in more than a decade.” Even before the law went into effect on July 1st, 2023, immigrants have left their jobs, fleeing for safety and have left many farms and businesses already feeling the consequences of this harsh anti-immigrant law.

Not only are immigrants feeling the burden of this xenophobic law, but the communities in Florida have expressed their outrage in a press conference gathered with Florida experts, advocates, affected community members and faith leaders. Organizations like the NAACP, Human Rights Campaign, and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) announced similar countermeasures that occurred after Arizona enacted its “Show me your paper” law by announcing a travel advisory for everyone because the law is “hostile and dangerous”.

  • Pastor Benjamin Feliciano, of the Rosa de Sarón Church in Fort Myers said, “This bill is more of a political show pony than an example of effective public policy that would keep our community safe and flourishing.”
  • Renata Bozzetto, Deputy Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition said, “We know that what is on the table today is nurturing a precarious state for immigrant families, immigrant businesses, businesses who rely on immigrant workers, many of whom we know are essential workers and kept food on our tables during the pandemic, those who are in the healthcare industry, and those who are serving Floridians who need home care.
  • Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet, Executive Director, Hope CommUnity Center  said, “These are the people the Florida legislature and Governor DeSantis are further victimizing. Florida has real issues including the rising cost of housing, insurance, and sea level. Immigrants are not the problem; they are the solution.”
  • Tessa Petit, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition said, “Its only purpose and result will be to increase the intentional divide in our communities. It is not meant to provide the protection they claim, and will not provide a solution to the broken federal immigration system.”
  • Jonathan Webber, Florida Policy Director for the SPLC Action Fund said, “All Floridians — regardless of origin — want the same thing: health, prosperity and safety. This bill undermines our values by sowing suspicion between neighbors, attacking workers and businesses during a labor shortage, and forcing productive members of society back into the shadows.”

Healthcare providers are worried about the deadly consequences of the fear-led legislation SB 1718 because it can have detrimental effects on the already struggling healthcare system. While immigrants can decline to answer the immigration status question mandated by a provision in the law, advocates fear immigrants will still be scared to go to primary care or even receive proper care. Dr. Antonio Gonzalez, a provider at the Community Medical Care Center in Immokalee, told WINK he’s afraid his immigrant patients will forgo care, “this is gonna really be a devastation when it comes to the medical care of immigrants,” he said in the report. “Because they are afraid of immigration [authorities] and they don’t want to be deported. And now with this policy, more people won’t go to the offices and to the ER, and I think that this is going to create a bigger problem.”

It is not enough that the policy is detrimental to the immigrant community, but is economically devastating for Florida. Florida Policy Institute estimates that enactment of SB 1718 would “cost Florida’s economy $12.6 billion in one year”. Even the conservative-leaning Wall Street Journal Editorial Board called the law a “misfire” and “will exacerbate the state’s labor shortage while doing nothing” to resolve the burden at the border and reported that Florida’s undocumented immigrant workers who “contribute significantly to the state economy” has left the state out of fear. Key industries that rely heavily on undocumented immigrant labor have sounded the alarm that they are already seeing the results of the xenophobic and costly law. “Videos circulating on social media show several construction sites in Florida abandoned by immigrant workers allegedly because of the state’s new immigration law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis last week,” Local 10 News reported on May 15th. A lack of workers means a crumbling industry. At the end of the day, the bill is chaos for immigrants and disruption to Florida’s economy.

SB 1718 wasn’t to benefit the people of Florida, but its only purpose was to appease the MAGA right-wing base and win their hearts and minds. Despite the fact that 21% of Floridians are immigrants and half of Floridians have an immigrant parent, DeSantis is throwing his own people under the bus to be the next MAGA right-wing heartthrob.

His performative politics by kidnapping migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard was a major failure, but he continued this, wasting Floridians’ taxpayer’s money and time. DeSantis sent two more flights from Texas to California with another scam of promising the migrants that there will be shelter, food, work, even legal assistance to help them secure work permits. The Florida Governor took advantage of the vulnerability of asylum seekers and targeted them from a Catholic church. A Bishop whose diocese was a target of DeSantis’ con stated that these actions are comparable to that of human trafficking.

And as suspected, Florida Republicans admitted that the bill was intended to “100% meant to scare” immigrants at a community meeting while pleading with Floridians to tell their community not to move. DeSantis wanted immigrants to move out of Florida, but what he did not want was his state’s economy to tank, making it clear that this bill was not for smart policy decisions but purely a political stunt.

As spoken by Congressman Maxwell Frost, Florida’s 13th US Congressional District said, “Ron DeSantis has turned his back on Floridians looking for compassionate leadership…spelled disaster for families looking for help on kitchen table issues like housing, healthcare, and wages”.  DeSantis is a failure for Florida and will be for America.

DeSantis 2024 Immigration Agenda

The descent of his extremist policies are further evident on his rollout of his immigration plan. His immigration plan titled “Stop the Invasion” is another ode to the white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory. The set of “solutions” he has announced is a collection of ugly and unworkable policies that do nothing to advance real solutions to a broken immigration system. Even though many before him have tried to do the same strategy to win, Republicans’ recent anti-immigrant extremism hasn’t worked as an electoral strategy outside the MAGA base as noted in America’s Voice report on Republicans’ anti-immigrant extremism. As Julio Ricardo Varela, political commentator and founder of the popular Latino Rebels website, states, “cries of an immigrant invasion and the so-called great replacement theory didn’t lead to the results Republicans hoped for in 2018, 2020 or 2022.” Regardless of this fact, DeSantis puts all of his eggs into one basket and follows the footsteps of past electoral losses peddling the same white nativist rhetoric.

Increasing tension at the border with the use of violence and deterrence tactics will not solve the issues at the border. It is dangerous for the Americans living at the border. But DeSantis doesn’t seem to care, just like how he did not care about the backlash that is happening in Florida with all his xenophobic, politically motivated laws. On Fox News, he violently threatened migrants stating that “if you’re cutting through a border wall on sovereign U.S. territory, and you’re trying to poison Americans, you’re gonna end up stone-cold dead.” DeSantis’ political playbook has no dignity or respect, just power grab moves to attract as many red hat-wearing voters as possible at the expense of people’s lives.

His plan, basically a copy of Trump’s and Stephen Miller’s immigration tactics, follows in the footsteps of the GOP’s race to the bottom on immigration. Here are eight things to know about DeSantis’ extreme and cruel agenda:

  1. Ending birthright citizenship: Birthright citizenship, enshrined in the 14th amendment, codified the citizenship of freed African-Americans post-Civil War and permanently changed the whites-only citizenship and voting population in the US
  2. Continuing to fund and build the wall furthering to militarize the border and deploying members of the military: Rather than peaceful border crossings, it will make the southern border more violent and studies have shown that “​​border militarization has not been able to deter migration, but instead to create more vulnerability” according to National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
  3. Detaining children for an indefinite period of time by overturning the Flores decision: Which the President does not have the power to overturn
  4. Upholding the idea that immigrants constitute a literal invasion at the southern border: The same white supremacist discourse that had deadly consequences for Americans that spurred many domestic terrorists attack through those motivations
  5. Ending parole programs: Proven to lessen the pressure at the border by increasing legal pathways, it decreased illegal border crossings
  6. Punish countries and allies if they won’t take in deportees 
  7. Reinstate Remain In Mexico program: An illegal program designed to punish legal asylum seekers by forcing them in dangerous conditions in Mexico which is another aim to end asylum in the U.S.
  8. Decimate the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico by using military force to handle the cartels



Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to be elected President of the United States in 2024, but faces a major roadblock before he can even get the Republican nomination: Donald Trump. Part of the DeSantis strategy is to outflank Trump on the right, particularly on immigration. In this quest to one-up the cruelty and chaos of Donald Trump, DeSantis, who benefitted from his Italian ancestors immigrating to the United States, has become one of the most vociferous and extreme anti-immigrant politicians in the country. That has included a scheme using vulnerable migrants as political props, and more recently, a ‘show me your papers’ 2.0 proposal. His leap to far-right extremism in the name of his political aspirations has been startling to see. 

In Congress, DeSantis was a run-of-the-mill anti-immigrant right-wing Republican, who helped found the Freedom Caucus. But, he became even more extreme when he decided to run for Governor in 2018. After begging for Trump’s endorsement (according to Trump),  DeSantis ran on anti-immigrant rhetoric similar to Trump, like building a wall (including an ad where he told his daughter to “build the wall”), ending “sanctuary cities,” and criticizing giving a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. His campaign promises were nothing compared to his administration’s actions in his first term as a governor. He has used the office of Governor as a platform to wage a non-stop culture war and demagogue vulnerable communities, including immigrants. This is clearly part of his calculated strategy as he hoped to replace Donald Trump as the titular head of the Republican party.

During the summer of 2022, DeSantis took his cruelty to a new level when he sent a plane of 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, MA, luring them with false promises of work, housing, and a quicker turnaround time on immigration work authorization. This cruel political ploy drew harsh condemnation, including a comparison by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library to “the Reverse Freedom Rides.” The “Reverse Freedom Rides” were when a white supremacist group in 1962 sent Black Americans to the North with false promises of work and housing. DeSantis quickly took responsibility for this “kidnapping” political ploy and even asked for more funds in his second term to continue the white supremacist copycat political stunt, despite a current criminal investigation underway into his dehumanizing stunt.

Using the 2023 legislative session, DeSantis proposed one of the most draconian laws since the early 2010s. His piece would criminalize those who “harbor” undocumented immigrants and to require hospitals to collect immigration status.  It is, in essence, “show us your papers” legislation. He also wants to overturn legislation that allows Florida Dreamers to access in-state tuition, a law signed by his Republican predecessor Rick Scott. DeSantis’ anti-immigrant agenda is a key element of his presidential strategy as he attempts to outflank Trump. As he prepares for that potential campaign, he has hired a speechwriter connected with white supremacists – his own version of Stephen Miller. 

In his 2023 biography, DeSantis noted that during his time in Congress, he thought that the bipartisan gang of eight’s immigration reform bill that would have given a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and decreased visa backlogs to be “playing footsie with mass amnesty to advocating for large expansions of immigration levels.” He added Republicans who supported this bill were “woefully out of touch with the people who voted them into office in the first place.” Released as he enters his second term as Governor while preparing his presidential campaign, it is a clear, daunting confirmation of his xenophobic immigration policies and how far out of step he is with the majority of the national electorate. 

DeSantis has continued to push this false narrative of Biden opening the southern border and villainizing immigrants even though 16.7 percent of Floridians are foreign-born. DeSantis’ first term was only the beginning of his harmful anti-immigrant policies. In order to compete against Trump for the loyalty of the MAGA base, DeSantis, with the support of state legislatures, is pushing laws to hurt immigrants in Florida. But this Florida man is looking to take his harmful, extremist agenda nationwide.  

In an indicative moment that describes DeSantis for early April 2023, when his state suffered serious flooding, he was in Ohio pushing his brand over culture war demagoguery. Like a classic bully, he is more concerned with punching down to make himself look big at the direct expense of addressing the urgent problems facing the residents he ostensibly supposes to lead. 



Ron DeSantis is the current Republican Governor of Florida who was first elected in 2018 and re-elected in 2022. He was previously U.S. House Representative for Florida’s 6th congressional district from 2013 to 2018 before running for governor.  

In Congress, DeSantis was quick to align himself with the Tea Party movement, the reactionary movement that helped pave the wave for extreme xenophobia of today’s GOP. DeSantis Rep. Jim Jordan and other anti-immigrant zealots and far-right members of Congress were founding members of the House Freedom Caucus. 

DeSantis “called for the end of chain migration” –  a pejorative term to describe the family-based immigrant visa process –even though his own family’s immigration story that of his great-great-grandmother, Luigia Colucci immigrating to the United States in early 1917 following her husband’s migration could be considered chain migration to some in the Republican party today. A very different immigration story would be told if Colucci came later in 1917 because the Immigration Act of 1917, enacted in May, barred people who were illiterate from entering the U.S. even though she was also fleeing from dangers similar to migrants leaving Central and South America to the southern border. As his family members benefited from the lax immigration laws, DeSantis’ commitment to “Trump’s efforts to crack down on immigration through deportations and more border security” is hypocritical at best.  

Blatantly unashamed of his ancestral hypocrisy, DeSantis used his image as a fervent defender of Trump’s MAGA platform to rise to notoriety for his gubernatorial campaign. Now claiming to be the champion of the “anti-wokeness” policy agenda that is making Florida, a once immigrant-friendly state, into a reactionary basion where civil rights and immigration groups have issued travel advisories warning about moving throughout the state and mimicking other states whose extreme measures backfired causing serious economic harm to the state. 

Congressional Record


Desantis was elected to Congress from Florida’s 6th Congressional District in 2012. He served until 2018, when he resigned to run for Governor.

During his five years in Congress, DeSantis continually aligned himself with extreme right-wing GOP members. He championed or co-sponsored numerous pieces of extreme anti-immigrant legislation. Most never became law, but they reveal DeSantis’ priorities. DeSantis sponsored one immigration bill, H.R.4143 – Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act of 2015 to prohibit admittance of refugees from countries that are terrorist-controlled nations. While this bill didn’t make it to the House floor, if passed, it would have restricted the number of refugees and cast refugees from terrorist-controlled nations as threats, rather than victims. All in all, the immigration bills he supported and co-sponsored were to degrade the immigration system to close the border permanently.

Overall he co-sponsored nine anti-immigrant bills in the House, although none of the bills made it to the floor. 

  • 2018
    • H.R.6318 – Zero Tolerance for Illegal Entry Act and Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act: This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to increase from a misdemeanor to a felony a first-time illegal entry into the United States.
  • 2017
    • H.R.1178 – SAFE for America Act: This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the diversity immigrant program. 
    • H.R.486 – Grant’s Law: This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to require mandatory detention of any alien who is unlawfully present in the United States and arrested for inadmissible or deportable crimes.
  • 2016
    • H.R.5619 – Sarah’s Law: This bill would require the detention of undocumented immigrants who have been charged with a crime that resulted in the death or serious bodily injury. 
  • 2015
    • H.R.3314 – Resettlement Accountability National Security Act of 2015: This bill prohibits the admission of refugees into the United States until Congress passes a joint resolution giving the Department of Homeland Security authority to resume admitting refugees.
    • H.R.3151 – Arrest Statistics Reporting Act of 2015: This bill requires the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to make an annual arrest report including the persons’ nationality and immigration status.
    • H.R.3011 – Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015: This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to increase penalties applicable to aliens who unlawfully reenter the United States after being removed.
  • 2014
    • H.R.4962 – National Border and Homeland Security Act: Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) (Secretary) to complete the required 700 mile southwest border fencing and priority-area fencing, increased funding on the border, and invest in border technology. 
    • H.R.2278 – SAFE Act: Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act or the SAFE Act – This bill gives states and local governments the power to enforce federal immigration laws and be able to detain and arrest unlawful immigrants.  
    • H.R.5053 – Expedited Family Reunification Act of 2014: This bill requires any unaccompanied alien child (UAC) who has not been a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons or does not have a credible fear of persecution on returning to be deported to his or her country of nationality or of last habitual residence.

DeSantis’ lackluster legislation record didn’t stop him from pursuing stricter immigration laws as he ran for governor of Florida. 

DeSantis’ 2018 Gubernatorial Campaign 


When DeSantis entered the Republican primary for governor in 2018, he was up against the establishment favorite, Adam Putnam. But DeSantis gained momentum after receiving an endorsement of Trump. He was a vocal supporter of Trump in the House and, more importantly, on FOX News. According to Trump, “He had nothing! He was dead, he was leaving the race, he came over and he begged me, begged me, for an endorsement. There were tears coming down from his eyes. He said ‘if you endorse me, I’ll win.’” The GOP primary for Governor in Florida really came down to who could be the most aligned with Trump. This meant campaigning on narratives similar to Trump, that would restrict immigration and demagogue the southern border.  The DeSantis campaign frequently called his primary opponent “amnesty Adam.” On his campaign website, DeSantis promised Floridians to stop illegal immigration by increasing E-Verify in Florida businesses and eliminating sanctuary cities.

Ignoring the immigration story of his Italian ancestors who came with no merit, DeSantis further supported eliminating the diversity visa lottery calling it “not the best way to make America competitive…we need to move to a merit-based system.” DeSantis’ campaign expanded on this point and stated that the way to stop illegal immigration is “demanding the end of the diversity lottery, the end of chain migration and the border wall”. However, two out of the three points he made are legal pathways of immigrating to the United States, which of course would do nothing to stop illegal immigration but signals his goal of eliminating legal immigration to the U.S. as well. The diversity visa lottery program exists for the sole purpose of promoting diversity in the immigration system by providing individuals from countries that have lower rates of immigration to move to the United States and gain the chance to achieve the American Dream. The program has staggeringly very low acceptance rates because of its low number of open spots of about 50,000. Chain migration, which again is a pejorative term used to describe family members immigrating to the U.S. through another family member, is legal under the current immigration laws in order to unify family members but has very strict conditions on who are able to legally immigrate. 

As he fanboyed Trump’s restrictionist immigration policies, DeSantis produced a political ad featuring his children “playing” with their Lego blocks to “build the wall,” and teaching them how to read with a “Make America Great Again” Trump election sign. DeSantis also previously attended a conference called “Restoration Weekend” where fellow right-wingers like Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannopoulos convened, four times in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017. During the speeches, DeSantis praised David Horowitz, the organizer for the conference who is a conservative activist who has said that “African Americans owe their freedom to white people” and that “the country’s ‘only serious race war’ is against whites.” Despite these revelations, the MAGA Republican Governor candidate won by a slim margin embracing MAGA platforms in 2018. Since then he has risen to become the model for the far-right movement in the GOP. 

DeSantis First Term: Kidnapping Families Seeking Asylum


In his first term, DeSantis got to work advancing his anti-immigration agenda. He required local cities to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and expand E-Verify. The E-Verify was very controversial within the GOP according to WUFT,Many Republican lawmakers were caught between choosing business interests or the conservative voter base during an election year. Business groups — especially the agricultural, construction and hospitality industries that rely on migrant labor — have financially supported Republican campaigns while advocating against E-Verify.” The final bill, which DeSantis signed into law, was much weaker than his initial proposal, only requiring employers and companies that contract with the state to use E-verify. Private employers did not have to use the system but could face penalties after audits. DeSantis also signed a law to ban so-called sanctuary cities in Florida. 

DeSantis was also looking for ways to outflank potential presidential challenges. Like Trump and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, on the right. In his vain, DeSantis hatched a plot to kidnap 50 asylum seekers, including women and children, to be used as pawns in his gross political stunt. In September 2022, 50 migrants were sent to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas on a plane with false promises of “expedited work papers,” employment and housing as incentives for getting on the flight.

DeSantis quickly admitted to this cruel political stunt that plays on vulnerable migrants’ lives with Floridian taxpayer’s funds to transport migrants from another state, Texas. His hope was that the residents of Martha’s Vineyard would respond negatively to the arrival of the migrants. But, the opposite occurred as the residents welcomed the refugees and did what they could to provide support for the unsuspecting arrivals. 

While this action was widely condemned as inhumane, DeSantis did not back down from his administration’s actions of transporting people to another place without their full knowledge of where they were headed. His administration stated that because sanctuary cities are proud of being sanctuary cities and that “they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states’ and support for the Biden Administration’s open border policies.” Rather than rescinding the political stunt, in his Freedom First Budget, which details Florida’s budget from 2022 to 2023, the DeSantis administration doubled down by stating that “Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them,” and along with his facilitation Florida legislature, approved “a $12 million program within the Florida Department of Transportation to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens out of Florida.” 

A class action suit was filed against DeSantis’ administration for kidnapping these migrants, but Florida taxpayers are now on the hook for covering the legal expenses of DeSantis’ kidnapping case. Other Governors like Abbott from Texas and Ducey from Arizona have all pulled similar stunts, but DeSantis is the only governor to use their citizens’ taxpayer money to transport humans from other states to other states without them having ever entered Florida. DeSantis’ motivation to pull this political stunt is for the larger picture: to be Trump’s replacement for the Republican party. DeSantis and his Florida state legislature minions are happy to use taxpayer dollars to pay for his political theater that is indirectly tied to his future presidential campaign.

The 2023 Legislative Session: DeSantis Presidential Agenda Unfolds with’ Draconian Show-Me-Your-Papers Law 


In his second term, DeSantis has increased his anti-immigrant attacks as he eyes the Republican presidential primary. Before his 2023 State of the State address, DeSantis released an immigration plan that he claimed would counteract the so-called “Biden’s Border Crisis.” The plan was the sort of anti-immigrant extremism that was reminiscent of the “show-me-your-papers” legislation from a decade ago. DeSantis’ plan also called for the legislature to rescind in-state tuition for immigrants with Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Stripping education opportunities from Dreamers isn’t likely a popular idea, but it is indicative of his draconian agenda. Even Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez sponsored the law for in-state tuition for Floridian DACA recipients when she was a state representative. 

Many Republicans in the Florida state legislature rushed to line up behind DeSantis’ extreme anti-immigrant agenda with SB 1718, which includes most of the aspects from his immigration package. Despite the backlash of the bill, the Florida Senate panel approved the bill on March 21st to be brought up to the floor. This bill is similar to the infamous “show me your papers” law in Arizona, but worse. Passing SB 1718 does not only negatively impact undocumented immigrants but also means criminalizing anyone and any organization from giving identifications to undocumented immigrants and making other states’ right to issue identification invalid and even being together in transportation. Going further, this bill forces hospitals to track how much money is spent on undocumented immigrant patients in the emergency rooms, check for citizenships in hospitals for services, and repeal a 2014 law that allows undocumented immigrants from practicing law in Florida. DeSantis’ administration wants to restrict undocumented immigrants’ rights, as echoed by other prominent xenophobic anti-immigrants like Trump’s former aide Stephen Miller. 

DeSantis’ War on Education 


DeSantis’ xenophobic immigration policies are not his only attacks directed at vulnerable communities. As he proclaimed at the Turning Point conference in 2022 “Florida is where woke goes to die.” DeSantis’ defined “woke” as “the belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them”. Not only are DACA recipients at risk of losing access to their education, but DeSantis is censoring the educational curriculum from Kindergarten through college. Last year, DeSantis signed a bill called Stop WOKE Act which “aims to restrict educating children and others about the United States’ legacy of racism in schools and workplaces,” and includes prohibiting teaching any material that would cause “‘guilt, anguish or any form of psychological distress’ due to their race, color, sex or national origin”. DeSantis required all books in Florida school libraries to be checked and banned if deemed inappropriate under this law. The law took effect in July 2022 and students are already reeling from the consequences of DeSantis’ racist law. 

DeSantis’ Ongoing Extremism


While DeSantis’ soft launch of this presidential bid is already being panned in the media and taking political attacks from the Trump team,  he will continue to peddle his culture war extremism in the hopes of elevating to the highest office in the land.   

  • DeSantis hired a speechwriter named Nate Hochman, not a usual choice for the GOP candidate, but signals the direction of his politics. Hochman is not known within the Republican party but is fairly a rising star in the right-wing atmosphere. He worked with a known white supremacist Nick Fuentes in the past and praised him that he is “probably a better influence than Ben Shapiro on young men who might otherwise be conservative”. 
  • DeSantis dresses up his extreme views in the coded language of “parental rights.” For example his WOKE Act “prohibit educational institutions and businesses from teaching students and employees anything that would cause anyone to ‘feel guilt, anguish or any form of psychological distress’ due to their race, color, sex or national origin” or even in when banning books on sex and gender education identity. Under DeSantis’ thumb, even books about Cuban music legend Celia Cruz and Afro-Puerto Rican legend and humanitarian Roberto Clemente have come under scrutiny.
  • At the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), DeSantis’ deliberate decision to compare “wokeness” to a disease said “a lot of major institutions in our country have become infected with this woke virus.” 
  • Not only is his extremism hurting immigrants but other vulnerable communities like the LGBTQ and the fundamental American right to free speech.  To prove his commitment to destroying “wokeness” which often attacks on trans rights, Critical Race Theory and sex/gender education, DeSantis’ administration banned trans athletes from playing women’s sports, censored sex and gender identity education through the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, and denounced efforts to backtrack diversity and equity.