However people feel about immigration, judges and lawmakers nationwide have long acknowledged that the employment of unauthorized workers is a reality of the American economy. From nailing shingles on roofs to cleaning hotel rooms, some 8 million immigrants work with false or no papers nationwide, and studies show they're more likely to be hurt or killed on the job than other workers. So over the years, nearly all 50 states, including Florida, have given these workers the right to receive workers' comp.

But in 2003, Florida's lawmakers added a catch, making it a crime to file a workers' comp claim using false identification. Since then, insurers have avoided paying for injured immigrant workers' lost wages and medical care by repeatedly turning them in to the state.

What's quietly been happening to workers in Florida, unnoticed even by immigrant advocates, could be a harbinger of the future as immigration enforcement expands under President Trump.

One of Trump's first executive orders broadened Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s priorities to include not just those convicted of or charged with a crime but any immigrant suspected of one. The order also targets anyone who has "engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency." That language could sweep in countless injured unauthorized workers because state workers' comp bureaus and medical facilities typically request Social Security numbers as part of the claims process.

"It appears that it's being applied in a discriminatory fashion," said Dennis Burke, the former U.S. attorney in Arizona who challenged that state’s immigration statutes. "How do you justify your enforcement being 99 percent Latino surnames?"

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