The Numbers Are In: DeSantis' Crackdown on Illegal Immigration in Florida Is Already Paying Off

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Governor Ron DeSantis’ crackdown on illegal immigrants seems to be paying off in more ways than one, according to a recent report. The governor’s multi-pronged effort to reduce illegal immigration in Florida has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of taxpayer dollars going to fund healthcare for those residing in the country illegally.


The governor signed a law last year requiring hospitals that accept Medicaid to ask patients about their legal immigration status when they seek treatment. The legislation does not compel patients to answer the question, but immigrant rights groups argued that it would discourage them from receiving medical attention funded by the government. Still, supporters of the law argue that the numbers show it is a success:

Florida’s Emergency Medical Assistance program for undocumented immigrants has seen a 54 percent drop in expenditures billed to Medicaid this year — with less than two months remaining in the fiscal year — since the state immigration law took effect, according to a POLITICO analysis. Thomas Kennedy of the Florida Immigrant Coalition said while there is no concrete evidence that the drop in Medicaid spending is a result of the law, which took effect in July 2023. there have been other signs of fallout.

“Obviously, there’s been somewhat of an exodus of migrants in Florida,” Kennedy said. “When this was all going through — we had warned about the exacerbated work[force] shortages and the distressed industries — we said this would be a bad idea.”

Federal law bars undocumented immigrants from Medicaid eligibility, even if they meet other requirements. But federal law also requires that states authorize limited Medicaid coverage for migrants facing a medical emergency, including dialysis, a pregnant woman delivering a baby or trauma.


The data shows that about $148.4 million in state and federal Medicaid funds went to emergency coverage of illegal immigrants in the Sunshine State before the new law went into effect. In May 2024, only about 67 million has been allocated toward illegals, with only two months left in the fiscal year.

Leonardo Cuello, a research professor at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families, noted that much of the spending goes to women in labor, and argued that the law “will have terrible long-term consequences for Florda.”

However, DeSantis’ office directed Politico to a statement from a spokesperson for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, Alecia Collins, which explained that while Medicaid is intended for American citizens, “those with medical necessities will still be treated by a hospital.”

Collins also pointed out that Medicaid expenditures are not the only problem caused by illegal immigrants using benefits intended for Americans. She referred to a March report showing that hospitals had to cover the $566 million in medical bills for services used by illegals.


“By shedding light on the true cost burden of illegal immigration we hope to bring awareness to the citizens of Florida and the United States as a whole,” she wrote.

DeSantis and other Florida Republicans have repeatedly criticized the impact of illegal immigration on healthcare, noting how many illegals take advantage of the nation’s welfare programs.

As this is a developing story, RedState will provide more details as they become available.



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