Lawmakers in the Senate Rules Committee approved a major immigration bill on Wednesday, requiring public and private businesses to use E-Verify to determine the immigration status of their workforce and making the transporting or harboring of an undocumented immigrant a third-degree felony, among other measures.
But the legislation did not include a repeal of a 2014 state law that gives in-state tuition fee waivers for undocumented immigrant students, or “Dreamers,” at Florida’s public colleges and universities.
Gov. Ron DeSantis had listed that measure in his proposals on immigration last month, but prominent Florida Republicans such as U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (who signed that measure into law) and former Republican Party of Florida Chair Al Cardenas have criticized the idea of repealing the law.
However, West Central Florida Republican Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, says the provision may possibly be added to another measure working its way through the legislative process.
“It still may show up as a subject in an education bill,” Ingoglia told the Phoenix immediately after the bill passed along party lines.
“I’m for repealing that section,” he insisted about the idea of repealing the 2014 law but added “it’s an education-based issue.”
Approximately 40,000 students enrolled in higher education classes in Florida are considered undocumented, with about 12,000 eligible for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and 28,000 ineligibles, according to the Higher Ed Immigration Portal.
This report appeared on the website of the Florida Phoenix, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to coverage of state government and politics from Tallahassee.