Several major civil rights organizations announced Saturday that they will file a federal lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over SB 1718, which went into effect July 1 and is considered “ the toughest immigration law” from United States.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the group Americans for Immigrant Justice and the American Immigration Council reported on a joint statement that the law is “discriminatory against immigrants” and “poses a threat to the rights and well-being of every individual in the state”.
The lawsuit will be filed against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on behalf of multiple individuals and the Florida Farmworker Association, an immigrant rights organization that focuses on justice for farmworkers, alleging that the law not only violates the fundamental rights of people in the state, but also undermines the cultural richness and economic contributions of immigrants.
The lawsuit will specifically focus on the harmful provisions described in Section 10, which criminalizes the transportation of people to Florida who may have entered the country without authorization to remain in the United States United.
“This attack on our immigrant communities will not prevail. Purposely designed to inflict cruelty, SB1718 is unconstitutional and undermines our democracy,” said Paul R. Chavez, Senior Supervising Attorney for the Immigrant Justice Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The law, which came into force this Saturday, severely punishes irregular immigration and companies and individuals who employ or help immigrants undocumented immigrants.
It was promoted by Governor DeSantis, who is a candidate for the presidency of the Republican Party in the 2024 presidential elections and the fight against irregular immigration is his workhorse in the electoral campaign.
“The sole and exclusive power to regulate immigration policy is granted by the United States Constitution to the federal government, not to the states,” Chavez stressed.
Amien Kacou, an attorney for the ACLU of Florida, stressed that SB1718 is “an attack on the fabric of our state,” as well as “an extreme act of state government overreach aimed at inciting fear and criminalizing immigrant communities”.
Shalyn Fluharty, executive director of Americans for Immigrant Justice, said “Florida has a proud history of welcoming immigrants, and our future prosperity depends on continuing on a path of welcome for all people who live in the Sunshine State, regardless of their place of birth or immigration status”.
“To all Florida immigrants: you are welcome here and we support you,” she added Fluharty.
Kate Melloy Goettel, legal director of litigation for the American Immigration Council, said the law “fosters an atmosphere of fear and hostility. Our lawsuit seeks to guarantee the fundamental rights and dignity of every individual in the state, regardless of their immigration status. No one should live in fear or face discrimination based on their immigration status, their presumptive immigration status, or the immigration status of their family members”.