Latin American truck drivers are reportedly planning a service boycott of Florida in response to Governor Ron DeSantis’s new legislation concerning migrants.
Migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border are once again in the national spotlight after Title 42 expired this week. Enacted by former President Donald Trump in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the measure allowed for the rapid expulsion of undocumented migrants found crossing into the U.S. on the grounds that doing so would help prevent the spread of the virus. It came to an end, along with all other remaining pandemic emergency protocols, on Thursday, leading to concern from some that it would lead to a spike in crossings at a time when various crises have already led to an overall surge in migrants seeking entry into the U.S.
In response to the end of Title 42, the Florida state government passed SB 1718, a new law that will target undocumented immigrants in the state. Among its contents, the bill would require employers to use E-Verify to check that workers are authorized to work in the U.S. and require hospitals to collect information on undocumented patients. The bill was signed on Wednesday into law by DeSantis and takes effect on July 1.
While the new law has received some praise from DeSantis’s fellow Republicans, reports have emerged that Latin American truckers on social media are planning an effort to boycott Florida in response, which would include refusing to bring shipments into the state. The growing response was documented on Twitter by independent journalist Arturo Dominguez, who shared various videos of truckers discussing the plan on Twitter.
“Spanish language social media has exploded with Latino truck drivers calling for a boycott and refusing to take shipments into Florida,” Dominguez wrote in a tweet. “Things are about to get interesting.”
In one of the videos, Newsweek was able to translate some of what was said: “Truckers, don’t enter the state of Florida. Let’s be united as Latinos in defense of our Latin American brothers who are being assaulted by this very stupid law, which incites hatred and discrimination…My truck won’t move. Don’t enter Florida. Nobody enter Florida.”
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, offered a response to the reports of a boycott, suggesting that the leaders in Florida who enacted the new law “reaped what they sowed.
“Anti-immigrant policies reap what they sow,” the congresswoman wrote. “DeSantis’ Florida is about to find that out. The US has such deep needs right now, particularly in labor. Yet policymakers (of ALL stripes) take our immigrant communities for granted. No más. Time to stop biting the hands that feed.”
Newsweek reached out to DeSantis’s press office via email for comment.