Trump-Appointed Judge Temporarily Blocks Florida’s Anti-Illegal Immigrant Transportation Law

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Jason Hopkins Immigration Reporter
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A Trump-appointed federal judge has temporarily blocked part of a Florida law that imposes criminal penalties for anyone knowingly transporting illegal immigrants into the state.

U.S. District Judge Roy Altman issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday against a section of Florida’s newly-enacted SB 1718, according to new court filings. The move temporarily blocks that portion of the state law as the lawsuit against it continues to play out in federal court. (RELATED: Blue State Released Illegal Immigrant Convicted Of Killing Two Children Despite ICE Detainer)

In his decision, Altman cited individuals who testified that they were “now too afraid to travel in and out of Florida with their undocumented friends or family members — for fear of being arrested or prosecuted or of having their family members deported” and also concluded that the Farmworker Association of Florida, a plaintiff in the case, would suffer “irreparable harm.”

Touted as the “strongest anti-illegal immigration legislation in the country” by Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis at the time he signed it into law last year, SB 1718 not only penalizes those who willfully transport illegal immigrants, but also allocates $12 million to relocate illegal immigrants to sanctuary jurisdictions outside of Florida, requires employers use E-verify and suspends licenses of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, among other provisions.

MIAMI, FLORIDA – APRIL 01: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks about a toll highway relief program during a press conference held at the Greater Miami Expressway Agency on April 01, 2024, in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“The Biden Border Crisis has wreaked havoc across the United States and has put Americans in danger,” DeSantis said when announcing his signature of the bill. “In Florida, we will not stand idly by while the federal government abandons its lawful duties to protect our country.” The Florida law went into effect on July 1, 2023.

The Farmworker Association of Florida, an advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against the law on July 17. However, their lawsuit only targeted the section of the law that pertained to the transportation of illegal immigrants.

The preliminary injunction is the latest in the courtroom blowback against GOP states that are enacting their own laws to combat illegal immigration. The Biden administration has filed lawsuits against three different states — Texas, Iowa, and most recently Oklahoma — for enacting legislation that targets illegal immigration, arguing these laws violate the federal government’s authority to enforce immigration laws.

Central American migrants -mostly Hondurans- taking part in a caravan heading to the US, descend from a truck, on arrival at a temporary shelter in Irapuato, Guanajuato state, Mexico on November 11, 2018. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)

Much like DeSantis did when signing Sb 1718 into law, the governors argue the state laws are needed in the wake of an ongoing border crisis and the White House not doing enough to address the issue.

Migrants who are waiting to seek asylum in the United States wait in line to write their names down on a list to potentially be called for processing, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on December 22, 2022. (Photo by VERONICA G. CARDENAS / AFP)

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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