Florida's new anti-immigrant policy generated a wave of criticism for its limitations that affect thousands of Latino workers.
LatinAmerican Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio
Listen to this article
Leer en español: “Un día sin latinos”: el llamado al boicot contra la política racista de DeSantis en Florida
In 2004, "A Day Without Mexican" was released, a film by Sergio Arau filmed during the government of George W. Bush and which is a criticism of the xenophobia and racism prevailing at that time. The film imagines the collapse of daily life in California when the illegal workers disappear one day. Nineteen years later, and with the new anti-immigration policy in Florida, Latino workers intend to protest with a boycott that makes clear their role in the life of the state and the country.
DeSantis Adds Another Draconian Measure
The governor of Florida, the Republican Ron DeSantis, caused great controversy during his government for the radicalness of his actions. In previous weeks, he promoted a law that allows the carrying of weapons in the state without the need for permits or limitations, while the country is in a strong discussion about the relevance of continuing to allow the indiscriminate use of weapons among the population. This seemed like a measure that shields the state from any attempt at the national level to limit the usage of weapons; however, DeSantis went further and attacked head-on another of the "problems" that afflict the state, at least from the point of view of Republican view: migrants.
The southern states, in particular, have been promoting policies against migrants. Measures include reinforcing the border, more excellent controls, and even the transfer of thousands of migrants from the south to sanctuary cities like New York, as has been done by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. In Florida, DeSantis signed a new law at the end of Title 42, with which he intends to control migration in the state. This law requests the verification of work permits, the use of hospitals, the validity of documents, and the relationship of citizens with migrants in a state of 22.2 million inhabitants, in which 1 in 5 people are illegal.
Call for Boycott
Just as "A Day Without Mexicans" aims to demonstrate that the weight of migrants in the U.S. economy is great, migrants affected by DeSantis' measures called for a boycott. The main sectors in which migrants are found are agriculture, construction, transportation, and services. Most of these workers are of Latino origin, and the call for the boycott comes from social networks. Through viral videos, the call spread, which, for the moment, has not been made official by any association or company. This is relevant because, despite the magnitude of the issue, it is not a total mobilization.
If the boycott is successful, going into the realm of prospective analysis, the sectors that could be affected would be the aforementioned, mainly agriculture and transportation. Florida's GDP represents $1.4 trillion, equivalent to that of Mexico or more than four times that of Colombia, to gauge the size of its economy. The main sectors are tourism and agriculture. In the latter, an eventual boycott could pose a problem. However, for it to be noticeable, it would have to be widespread over several days or weeks, which seems difficult on paper. A transportation boycott would directly affect the supply of products. The problem with this type of pressure is that it would also have to be widespread to affect the lives of the population and the economy of the state.
Also, it is crucial to consider that this is not the first time that a call for a boycott has been made for these causes. In 2017, "a day without Immigrants" was given as a protest against Donald Trump's immigration policy. Throughout the country, hundreds of establishments belonging to migrants closed their doors, while thousands of workers joined the boycott by not attending to their jobs. The weight of this pressure at the economic level did not have a significant impact, and its importance lies in raising awareness about the role of migrants in the daily life of the country, the same effect that the call for the blockade against DeSantis seeks to achieve.
The proposed day on social networks such as TikTok is June 1st, in less than two weeks. However, given how informal the call is, the challenge will be to make it widespread without the direct support of prominent personalities, politicians, or companies. Indirectly, the governor of Florida could affect the state economy. The entry into force of his law is scheduled for July 1st, at which time companies from all sectors must comply with the regulations on hiring their personnel.
The difficulty in finding workers with valid documents could affect the operation of companies, small businesses, schools, hospitals, the countryside, and other sectors. Meanwhile, DeSantis capitalizes on his popularity among conservative voters on his way to the Republican presidential nomination. His actions with guns and migrants position him as one of the favorites behind Donald Trump to run for the White House.