DeSantis’s Migration Reform Law Faces Backlash As Mexico Funds Lawsuit For Illegal Migrants

Gov. Ron DeSantis’s migration reform law, Senate Bill 1718 (SB 1718), has drawn sharp criticism from those who argue that it has led to a shortage of migrant workers in Florida who are willing to work for low wages — and bring down wages for Americans. In response, the Mexican government has taken the unprecedented step of funding a lawsuit for illegal migrants in the state who are facing human smuggling charges and lengthy prison sentences under the new law.

In July 2023, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Farmworker Association of Florida, and the American Immigration Council filed a lawsuit against DeSantis’s migration reform law, claiming that it penalizes “a wide array of conduct that Congress chose not to prohibit” and “impedes the federal immigration scheme by preventing immigrants from entering Florida.”

While the law may be seen as detrimental to illegal aliens in Florida who are willing to work for low wages, DeSantis’s migration reform law benefits American workers by reducing housing costs and pressuring businesses to increase employee wages.

Mexico has a long history of supporting illegal migration into the United States and maintains offices in cities across the country to help Mexicans gain U.S. legal status and send money back to Mexico. DeSantis’s law is a target for Mexico because, under SB 1718, it becomes more challenging for employers to hire Mexican migrants who would accept low wages instead of hiring better-paid American workers.

The ongoing legal battle over SB 1718 highlights the complex and often contentious nature of immigration policy in the United States, as well as the competing interests of various stakeholders, including state governments, advocacy groups, and foreign nations.