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Hillsborough County state attorney to answer questions on new Florida immigration law

FILE – Workers harvest and bag green chile on a farm in New Mexico on Aug 27, 2020. (AP file photo)

Posted: Jun 29, 2023 / 09:17 AM EDT

Updated: Jun 29, 2023 / 01:27 PM EDT

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County’s State Attorney Susan Lopez will attend a town hall event to answer questions ahead of the state’s new immigration law going into effect this weekend.

Since the day it was announced, Florida’s latest immigration package has been met with controversy.

“The incentives to come illegally in Florida have been dealt with,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

The new law, backed by DeSantis, bans local governments from issuing ID’s for anyone who can’t prove their citizenship.

It also creates harsher restrictions and penalties for knowingly transporting or hiring illegal immigrants.

“They are scared; they don’t want to risk their safety,” said Ana Lamb, a Hispanic Community activist. “They don’t know what to expect.”

Under the new legislation, hospitals that accept Medicaid will now have to ask each patient for his or her citizenship status.

As for undocumented law school graduates, they will no longer be admitted to the Florida Bar.

These are a few of the measures formerly undocumented immigrant Thomas Kennedy calls cruel.

“We’ve already been seeing for over a month now, the economic and societal impacts of this law,” he said. “Immigrants and their families are leaving the state.”

Now, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is stepping into the conversation, releasing a video Tuesday on Twitter.

“We do not target individuals based on their immigration status,” he said in the video. “That’s the authority of federal agencies. Our goal is to build trust and foster strong partnerships with all residents regardless of their background.”

With less than two days until the law goes into effect, local leaders are educating families on what to expect and how to prepare.

“We’ve been having to have tough conversations with parents around how do you make sure you have a plan in place if you are departed,” Faith in Florida Lead Community Organizer Nanci Palacios said.

The free town hall event will take place from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at 1002 E. Palm Ave, Tampa, FL 33605.

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