A sweeping new anti-immigrant law – SB 1718 – took effect in Florida on July 1, 2023. The law harms Florida immigrants and their families and seeks to target and intimidate immigrant families in every facet of their lives. The SPLC and its legal partners filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the law is unconstitutional.
The law inhibits and intimidates immigrants seeking health care; prohibits local government funding of new community identification cards; and invalidates certain driver’s licenses from states like Connecticut, Vermont, Delaware and Hawaii. It also expands penalties and requirements for businesses to use E-Verify, the electronic system used to check a worker’s documentation status.
The lawsuit focuses on the provisions outlined in Section 10 of the law, which criminalizes the transportation of individuals into Florida who may have entered the country unlawfully and have not been “inspected” by the federal government since. The complaint states that it is unconstitutional for a state to unilaterally regulate federal immigration and subject people to criminal punishment without fair notice and that Florida’s use of the term “inspection” is incoherent and unconstitutionally vague.
The case was filed on behalf of the Farmworker Association of Florida and various impacted individuals, including U.S. citizens and undocumented drivers and passengers who routinely travel into and out of Florida.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.