Fabiola Santiago is my favorite Miami Herald columnist. I share her sensibility. As I read what she wrote, I say “yes” again and again. Recently she wrote about the disgraceful anti-immigrant sentiment expressed in legislation by lawmakers who came from immigrant families. Miami, she writes, was once celebrated for its ethnic mix. Now Republican legislators are obediently following the xenophobic governor, who is a Christian nationalist. Would DeSantis have let them in? Probably not.

She writes:

Immigrant-hate-stoking Florida Gov. DeSantis should be persona non grata in South Florida. But gullible voters eagerly follow charlatans.

There are plenty of reasons to whisk away the welcome mat — DeSantis has attacked practically every distinctive feature we once stood for — none more repulsive than his loathing of undocumented immigrants, encapsulated in an immigration bill making its way through the Legislature.

This is a region risen from the tears and triumphs of decades of immigration, and BD — Before DeSantis — even Republican politicians held us up as an example of the heights a diverse community can reach.

Before the abhorrent “Florida blueprint” DeSantis is peddling nationwide — autocracy, anti-gay, anti-Black and anti-women’s rights, anti-immigrant measures — we were heralded as America’s model city of the future.

Now, GOP state lawmakers stand in solidarity with inconceivable intrusion in our communities by a governor with runaway ambition. Simply put, both versions of the same proposal, House Bill 1617 and Senate Bill 1718, are a slap to the face of our immigrant families — and native-born Americans who have welcomed immigrants into their lives, whether through friendship or marriage.

Families of mixed immigration status, people who straddle two worlds, are a Florida trademark. But if bills pass both chambers, these Floridians could potentially become criminals in the eyes of the law.

If signed by the governor, the new and possibly unconstitutional law would criminalize hosting immigrants in your home and driving them to school, work or anywhere else.

Doing so would be tantamount to harboring a fugitive and abetting them. Who and how authorities get to decide who is here illegally or who isn’t is tough to tell. And neither DeSantis nor the state decides immigration matters.

The bill also mandates random raids on businesses to check employees’ immigration status, again not the purview of state government, and forces hospitals to ask patients for their immigration status.

All of these proposals, which should have been dead on arrival when filed, have passed two House and Senate committees….

“This bill will negatively impact not only tens of thousands of mixed-status families living in Florida but will also impact thousands of businesses across the state,“ former Miami congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell told me. “Immigrants have been the backbone of Florida’s economy from the agricultural sector to the hospitality industry. Will Gov. DeSantis raid every business in the state to enforce this law?”

Perhaps not the businesses of his donors, but he will target those of random Hispanics and other minority groups.

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/article274039665.html#storylink=cpy

Pastors in Florida worry that they will face criminal charges if they provide a ride to church services to an undocumented immigrant.

The ACLU of Florida summarized the bills:

Criminalizes Floridians who shelter, support, and provide transportation to undocumented immigrants, including those who have overstayed their visa or who have lived in Florida for decades and have US born children. Makes it harder for immigrants to provide for their families. Harms businesses by authorizing FDLE to conduct random checks of businesses to ensure compliance. Prohibits public funding for community IDs and requires hospitals to inquire of Medicaid patients whether they’re lawfully allowed in the country and to collect that data.

Florida’s hospitality and tourism industry won’t find it easy to hire people to clean hotel rooms, work in kitchens, and do other low-wage jobs. Where will the agriculture industry find people to tend and harvest their crops?

Despite protests, the compliant Florida legislature seems sure to give Governor DeSantis whatever he wants.