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Advocates say new immigration law could stop undocumented people from seeking medical care

Women and children protest a new immigration law at Hope Community Center.
At the Hope Community Center, women and children protest Florida's new immigration law.

Immigration advocates gathered at Hope Community Center in Apopka Thursday to decry a new state law that would limit the rights of undocumented people here.

The law increases the penalties for businesses who hire undocumented workers and for anyone who shelters or transports undocumented people.

It also requires hospitals and clinics to collect data about a person’s immigration status.

Silvia Ruiz who is a DREAMer says she’s worried many undocumented people will stop seeking medical care altogether.

Ruiz said her dad died from COVID after he delayed treatment because he didn’t have his papers.

“During this month, I can't help but think about the week that he spent in bed thinking about receiving medical attention," said Ruiz. "I ask myself: if he decided to go sooner. Would things have ended differently? Would I still have my dad with me today?”

She said she thinks a lot about what will happen if her one remaining parent, her mom needs medical care.

"It's inhumane to deny anybody medical attention but it also should be inhumane to make anyone fearful of asking for it," said Ruiz.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the law is needed to, “combat the dangerous effects of illegal immigration caused by the federal government’s reckless border policies.”

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.
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