Florida legislators who voted for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stringent immigration regulation are attempting to reassure immigrant residents within the Miami-Dade County space that they shouldn’t concern the brand new regulation.

Republican state Reps. Rick Roth, Alina Garcia and Juan Fernandez-Barquin had been invited to talk at a gathering Monday organized by the Hispanic Ministers Affiliation of South Florida to debate the regulation in Hialeah, town with the nation’s second-highest share of Latino residents. 

About 160 folks attended the occasion, largely ministers, pastors and group organizations looking for details about whether or not the coverage change would have an effect on how they serve their congregations, which embrace individuals who can be immediately affected by the regulation.

The sweeping immigration regulation DeSantis signed final month makes it a felony to “knowingly and willfully” transport an undocumented particular person into the state — together with family and acquaintances. It additionally invalidates out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to immigrants who lack authorized standing and requires personal companies with 25 or extra staff to make use of a federal system referred to as E-Confirm to verify whether or not new staff are eligible to work within the U.S.

Many undocumented staff within the agriculture, development and tourism industries have left the state in anticipation of the regulation’s going into impact subsequent month — with others left questioning whether or not they need to additionally transfer elsewhere.

Video clips members of the Florida Immigrant Coalition recorded at Monday’s occasion had been posted on social media by Thomas Kennedy, a spokesperson for the immigrant rights group.

The brief movies captured remarks through which Roth and Garcia appeared to downplay the severity of the regulation they voted for. 

“That is extra of a political invoice than it’s coverage,” Roth stated in one clip.

In one other clip, Roth informed attendees: “This invoice is 100% speculated to scare you. I’m a farmer, and I’m mad as hell. We’re shedding staff. They’re already beginning to transfer to Georgia and different states. It’s pressing that you just discuss to all of your folks and persuade them that you’ve got sources of their state representatives and different folks that may clarify the invoice to you.”

Roth didn’t reply to an electronic mail looking for remark.

Garcia additionally characterised the regulation as one “mainly to scare folks from coming into the state of Florida, and I believe that it’s finished its objective.”

She added: “This bill doesn’t really have any teeth.”

In an electronic mail, Garcia responded with the next assertion: “It’s unlucky that opponents of the invoice are disingenuously deceptive folks to consider issues about this invoice that merely are unfaithful. Whereas Florida values the immigrant group, we needed to take motion to counteract the failures of the federal authorities.

“We wish folks to undergo authorized channels to be right here, work right here, and prosper right here,” Garcia added.

Kennedy characterised the Republican legislators on the occasion as “people who find themselves not trusted messengers on what’s on the invoice as a result of they voted for it, and now they’ve a political motivation to attempt to spin it, as a result of there’s a lot anger and indignation over what they did.”

Kennedy stated he has already discovered of a number of households with blended immigration statuses who’ve upended their lives and made preparations to maneuver out of Florida earlier than July, choices which have prompted ripple results throughout industries that depend on immigrant labor.

Fernandez-Barquin criticized his Republican colleagues Tuesday for dismissing the regulation as a “scare tactic.”

“I, under no circumstances, share their opinion,” Fernandez-Barquin stated in a press release, including that DeSantis’ immigration regulation “is centered on regulation and order and making certain that our state fills the void the federal authorities has uncared for to behave upon.”

“I voted for this invoice, assist this invoice, and applaud our governor for making this a precedence,” Fernandez-Barquin stated.