DeSantis’ Illegal Immigration Crackdown in Florida Shows Immediate Results: Here Are the Numbers

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A recent report suggests that Governor Ron DeSantis’s crackdown on illegal immigration is paying off. In Florida, the governor’s multifaceted effort to reduce illegal migration has led to a significant decrease in the amount of money that taxpayers spend on healthcare for illegal immigrants.

Last year, the governor signed a bill requiring that hospitals accepting Medicaid ask patients about their immigration status at the time of treatment. Immigrant rights groups claimed that the legislation would deter immigrants from seeking government-funded medical care. Supporters of the law claim that its numbers prove it to be a success.

POLITICO’s analysis shows that Florida’s Emergency Medical Assistance Program for undocumented migrants has seen a 54 percent drop in expenses billed to Medicaid in this fiscal year. There are less than two months left in the year. Thomas Kennedy, of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said that while there was no concrete proof to support the claim that Medicaid spending has dropped since the state immigration law took effect on July 20, 2023, there are other signs.

Kennedy stated that there has been a “certain exodus” of migrants from Florida. When this all happened, we warned of the severe shortages in the workforce and the distressed industries. We said that this was a bad idea.

The federal law prohibits undocumented migrants from being eligible for Medicaid, even if other requirements are met. Federal law requires states to provide limited Medicaid coverage in the event of a medical emergency for migrants, such as dialysis or a woman giving birth.

Data shows that before the new law was implemented, about $148.4 million in Medicaid funds from the federal and state governments were used to cover illegal immigrants who needed emergency care in Florida. Only 67 million dollars have been allocated to illegals in May 2024. Only two months are remaining in the fiscal year.

Leonardo Cuello is a professor of research at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy Center for Children and Families. He noted that a large portion of the money spent goes to women who are in the workforce and said that the law will have “terrible long-term consequences for Florida.”

DeSantis’ office directed Politico toward a statement by Alecia Collins, a spokesperson for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. She explained that Medicaid was intended for American citizens but “those who have medical needs will still be treated at a hospital.”

Collins pointed out, too, that illegal immigrants claiming benefits meant for Americans is not the only issue. She referred back to a report from March showing that hospitals were forced to pay $566 million for medical services provided to illegal immigrants.

She wrote: “By shining a light on the real cost burden of illegal migration, we hope to raise awareness among the citizens of Florida as well as the United States in general.”

DeSantis, along with other Florida Republicans, has repeatedly criticized the impact of illegal immigrants on healthcare. They’ve noted how many illegals use the nation’s welfare programs.