tags: Press Releases

The Costs and Consequences of Florida, Texas Governors’ Anti-Immigration Efforts

Share This:

Washington, DC – The relentless anti-immigrant focus of both Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida and Governor Greg Abbott in Texas has led to both states enacting harmful anti-immigrant laws and policies that are both scapegoating and harming immigrants, both those arriving and those settled in the states. But what is becoming increasingly clear is the anti-immigrant policies are having an impact well beyond immigrant communities and harming  broader segments of the economy and society in both states. The growing pushback from a broader contingent of state residents and voters is gaining attention in the news. 

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“Extreme anti-immigrant policies don’t just harm immigrant communities but also regular citizens in their daily lives. In both Florida and Texas, local residents are seeing up close and personal what happens when policymakers let ugly anti-immigrant politics drive actual policymaking. Many of these voices are now speaking out and calling out Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott’s efforts, recognizing that the harms of their relentless nativism don’t just lead to heartbreaking stories, but have a spillover effect that impacts citizens and businesses in the process as well.”

In Florida:

  • In the New York Times, Miriam Jordan writes, “New Florida Immigration Rules Start to Strain Some Businesses,” reporting on how Ron DeSantis’ anti-immigrant legislation is causing shockwaves throughout Florida’s economy: “In fast-growing states like Florida, construction has for decades attracted unauthorized immigrants willing to do onerous work, often in extreme temperatures, that many Americans shun. A lack of laborers in recent weeks has stalled projects around the state, and costs have started to rise amid competition for a shrinking pool of roofers, masons and painters, according to people in the industry. Juan Baregas, a subcontractor who does framing for a large developer in Central Florida, said that he had lost half of his crew of 40 in recent weeks, limiting his ability to complete projects … In a meeting with Hispanic religious leaders before the law went into effect, Rick Roth, a Republican state representative and farmer who voted for the bill, called on the ministers to convince people to stay. ‘We are losing employees,’ he said during the gathering, video of which was widely shared. ‘They are already starting to move to Georgia and other states.’”
  • Over at  CNN and CNN en Español, Alicia Wallace writes, “DeSantis’ ‘anti-woke’ bills are costing Florida millions of dollars in business,” noting, “A slew of new bills signed into law by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has draped the Sunshine State in controversy, spurring protests, lawsuits and travel advisories warning the state is ‘openly hostile’ toward people of color, immigrants, women and LGBTQ+ community members. The fallout is starting to spread to a key economic artery for an income-tax-free state heavily reliant upon tourism taxes: Florida’s convention business. In recent weeks, at least a dozen organizations have announced plans to either cancel or relocate their upcoming conferences scheduled to take place in Florida, making a statement by having their thousands of attendees and millions of dollars flow into other states deemed safer and more welcoming.”

In Texas:

  • Uriel Garcia writes in the Texas Tribune, “Eagle Pass residents sour on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star,” noting, “…[I]n recent months, Eagle Pass residents and city leaders have become uncomfortable with the state’s tactics or have dropped their support of Abbott’s efforts, saying there must be a better way. Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas Jr., who in June agreed — without the City Council’s approval — to declare Shelby Park private property so state troopers could arrest migrants for trespassing, has recently reversed his support, saying that since he signed the agreement with the state, ‘things have changed, things that obviously I don’t like.’”
  • Recently in the Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Findell wrote, “Texas Spent Billions on Border Security. It’s Not Working,” noting that “Operation Lone Star, with $4.5 billion spent so far, has had little effect on migration while facing charges of civil-rights abuses.”