TAMPA, Fla. — Thousands of truck drivers transport essential items daily, like food, clothing, equipment, and building materials.
But a potential strike by truckers has been brewing on social media, in response to a Florida immigration bill that’s set to take effect on Saturday, July 1.
They're concerned the impact it will have on the state’s economy and immigrant families.
“If you go to the supermarket, if the truckers don’t bring the food, there won’t be any food there,” says Luis Vargas, a trucker in Florida for 23 years.
The bill set to go in effect this weekend places tighter restrictions on undocumented immigrants driving into the state, on those looking to find a job at a company with over 25 employees and requires hospitals that accept Medicaid to inquire about a patient’s legal status.
It’s a topic that hits close to home for Vargas. “I’ve decided not to transport here in the state of Florida to protest this new law and support those immigrants, because I’m also an immigrant,” he said.
A possible strike could have serious implications for the state. I spoke with one truck driver who shares why he's standing with others to boycott bringing items into the state. pic.twitter.com/pS3MkLIpSG— Lizbeth Gutierrez (@LizbethGNews) June 26, 2023
Vargas says he’s doing it as a sign of solidarity. Adding that he isn’t alone.
He even describes what he’s seen in the weeks after this bill was signed.
“Everywhere I stop, there’s always Latinos who are supporting, and they don’t want to come to Florida for that reason to help and support,” he said.
Coupled with the lack of truck drivers in the state, and now this anti-immigration law, Luis says it’s making him rethink if staying in Florida is right for him.
This potential strike is expected to happen July 1 when the new law takes effect. According to the American Trucking Association, the nation’s truck driver shortage is set to hit historic high, with 80,000 drivers needed to meet the demand.