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“We Are Losing Employees”: Watch Florida Republicans Admit Law They Passed To Aid DeSantis’ 2024 Run Is Hurting the Economy, Increasing Prices for Consumers and Terrifying Workers

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Florida Republicans finally admitted out loud what we’ve been insisting all along: their anti-immigrant law passed to aid Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential run is harming their state by scaring away immigrant workers. 

In a video shared on social media by state organizer Thomas Kennedy, Florida lawmakers Alina Garcia, Rick Roth, and Juan Fernandez Barquin — all of whom voted for this law, by the way — held a community meeting on Monday, where they basically begged Floridians to stop leaving the state. The notorious S.B. 1718, Roth said, had only been meant to be for show. Of course, we know it would absolutely harm immigrant workers and the state’s economy, as these sorts of laws have already done in Arizona, Georgia, and Alabama.

“This bill is 100% supposed to scare you,” Roth claimed in remarks translated into Spanish for the audience. “I’m a farmer, and the farmers are mad as hell. We are losing employees. They’re already starting to move to Georgia and other states.” Roth then said it was “urgent that you talk to all your people and convince them that you have resources — state representatives and other people — that can explain the bill to you.” 

Like  the New Republic reported, Roth was “essentially begging Florida’s labor force to not leave the state that cares little for them.”

Of note, Georgia, which Roth cited, passed a similar anti-immigrant law back in 2011, generating headlines like “Immigration law already hitting Georgia farmers,” “Crackdown on illegal immigrants left crops rotting in Georgia fields, ag chief tells US lawmakers,” “Georgia’s Harsh Immigration Law Leaves Crops Rotting in Fields,” and “Ga. immigrant crackdown backfires.” We’re starting to see those kinds of headlines in Florida, too.

“They admit the bill is ‘100% meant to scare’ immigrants and beg the crowd to ‘urgently’ convince ‘your people’ to not leave Florida since folks in the agriculture industry are mad workers are leaving,” Kennedy tweeted. “The hypocrisy is so brazen and disgusting.” He goes on to say that Roth also contradicts himself in his remarks, by claiming S.B. 1718 is “more of a political bill than it is policy,” but then acknowledging it gives police more authority.

“I really didn’t prepare anything,” Garcia admitted in her remarks. “This is a bill basically to scare people from coming to the state of Florida, and I think it’s done its purpose.” Kennedy notes that Garcia falsely claimed in her remarks that the bill has “no teeth.” But in reality, it’s got fangs, and among its numerous harmful provisions criminalizes Floridians for transporting an undocumented person into the state, even if it’s a family member or other loved one. Despite setting Florida on a self-destructive path in the name of a shaky presidential run, Roth claimed he’s still a big DeSantis supporter. “I love my governor,” he said. “He’s the greatest governor.”

Where is Ron DeSantis the week after a string of massive, worker-led protests against his law? One where businesses in multiple cities across the state shut down in solidarity with the immigrants under threat by S.B. 1718? Planning a stunt visit to the border, despite the GOP wish for chaos following the end of Title 42 not coming true. Maybe instead of dignifying his silly border visit, reporters should press him about all the very real problems he’s caused back home in Florida when all the extreme rhetoric is actually translated into policy.