Civil rights groups asked a federal judge Tuesday to stop Florida officials from enforcing a section of a new state immigration law that criminalizes transporting someone who has entered the United States unlawfully. But the jurist denied the request immediately on a technicality.
The portion of the law known as Section 10 makes it unsafe for people to get to medical appointments, meet with family and go to work, the groups said in a motion that is part of a July lawsuit challenging the law.
“For many individual plaintiffs, Section 10 interferes with their ability to go about their daily lives,” said the motion, which asks for a temporary injunction halting enforcement.
Almost immediately after it was filed, U.S. District Judge Roy Altman denied the request for a temporary injunction on a technicality, saying Gov. Ron DeSantis and other defendants who include prosecutors from across Florida had not been properly given notice about the motion. The judge said the civil rights groups could file the request again.
Other provisions of the new immigration law championed by DeSantis bolster his migrant relocation program and limit social services for immigrants lacking permanent legal status. It also expands requirements for businesses with more than 25 employees to use E-Verify, a federal system that determines if employees can legally work in the U.S. Another provision requires hospitals that accept Medicaid to include a citizenship question on intake forms.
DeSantis, who is running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, has sent Florida National Guard soldiers to Texas for border security and directed Florida to pay for charter flights carrying migrants from Texas to other parts of the country.
An email seeking comment was sent to the governor’s office and his press secretary, Jeremy Redfern.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Miami, argues that Florida’s law is unconstitutional because federal law preempts state law when it comes to immigration; that it ignores due process rights; and that it was written vaguely.
In their motion Tuesday, the civil rights groups used as examples a woman who risked arrest by driving her grandson, who has a pending petition for immigration relief, and a Catholic deacon who drives people in his car to immigration-related appointments.
“This law’s only purpose is cruelty. It threatens Floridians with jail time for doing the most ordinary things, like visiting family, going to work and driving kids to soccer games,” said Spencer Amdur, an attorney at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.
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