Groups Challenge Florida Immigration Law

Josh McGill Citrus

The American Immigration Council (AIC) and other organizations announced they will file a federal lawsuit challenging Florida’s Senate Bill 1718, an immigration law that went into effect July 1. Joining AIC in the suit are The Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Florida and Americans for Immigrant Justice.

immigration law
Photo courtesy of the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Senate summarizes the bill as “Prohibiting counties and municipalities, respectively, from providing funds to any person, entity, or organization to issue identification documents to an individual who does not provide proof of lawful presence in the United States; specifying that certain driver licenses and permits issued by other states exclusively to unauthorized immigrants are not valid in this state; requiring certain hospitals to collect patient immigration status data information on admission or registration forms; requiring the Department of Economic Opportunity to enter a certain order and require repayment of certain economic development incentives if the department finds or is notified that an employer has knowingly employed an unauthorized alien without verifying the employment eligibility of such person, etc.” 

The groups are charging that the bill, which they call an “anti-immigrant” law, poses a threat to the rights and well-being of every individual in the state. The lawsuit will be filed against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on behalf of several individuals and the Florida Farmworkers Association, an immigrant rights organization. The groups contend that the law violates the fundamental rights of people in the state and undermines the cultural richness and economic contributions of immigrants.

The lawsuit will specifically focus on the provisions outlined in Section 10 of the bill. The groups say that section criminalizes the transportation of individuals into Florida who may have entered the country without federal inspection.

“The sole and exclusive power to regulate immigration policy is granted by the U.S. Constitution to the federal government, not the states, said Paul R. Chavez, senior supervising attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project. “Gov. DeSantis’ attempt to create a separate, competing state-run immigration enforcement system impedes the federal government’s ability to do its job.”

“Our lawsuit seeks to ensure the fundamental rights and dignity of every individual in the state — regardless of their immigration status,” added Kate Melloy Goettel, AIC legal director of litigation. “No one should live in fear or face discrimination based on their immigration status, their presumed immigration status or the immigration status of their family members.”

Source: American Immigration Council

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