'Everybody is in a panic': New right-wing Florida bill threatens 'huge crisis' for industry
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at Lynchburg, Virginia, on April 14, 2023. (Shutterstock.com)

A newly-signed bill by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that sharply cracks down on the ability of immigrants to work is setting off alarm bells in the state's agriculture industry which relies heavily on immigrant labor, reported Scripps News West Palm on Monday.

"From farming to construction, the law is expected to have a wide-ranging impact on a number of industries vital to Florida's economy," said the report. "Some farm workers are already too scared to go to work and are considering leaving the state, which could cause a huge staffing crisis for Florida agriculture."

Among other things, the bill institutes new state-level penalties for transporting undocumented immigrants to Florida, imposes new requirements on certain companies to check immigration status, and renders out-of-state driver's licenses issued to undocumented immigrants void in the state.

It also adds another $12 million to the "migrant relocation" program that DeSantis controversially used to round up migrants in Texas and fly them to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

"'I've been hearing that probably they will not be sending their kids to school, and they are afraid to go to work, and it's sad,' Denise Negron, the executive director of the Farmworker Coordinator Council of Palm Beach County," said in the report.

"'This is the people that we have to thank because thanks to them we have food on our tables,' Negron said. 'Agriculture and farm work is a job that nobody wants to do.' During a Thursday fundraiser gala for the Farmworker Coordinating Council, Negron said she worries for the organization's future as they work to provide social and human services to farm workers."

All of this comes as DeSantis, who just wrapped up a legislative session full of GOP wish list items on everything from school censorship to abortion, is preparing to formally launch his campaign for the 2024 presidential election.