A federal judge temporarily suspends DeSantis' law on transporting illegal immigrants

The judge appointed by former President Donald Trump said the legislation could exceed state authority.

A federal judge has temporarily suspended a portion of Florida's immigration law, which imposes criminal sanctions against those who intentionally transport illegal immigrants into the state.

Judge Roy Altman, appointed by former President Donald Trump for the Southern District of Florida, issued a court order blocking part of the legislation SB 1718, at least while a lawsuit filed by the Florida Farm Workers Association and seven other people who say they were affected by the law is resolved.

Altman argued that criminalizing the transportation to Florida of a person who "has not been inspected by the
Federal Government since his or her unlawful entry" could exceed his state authority.

“[The legislation] extends beyond the state's authority to make arrests for violations of federal immigration law and, in so doing, intrudes into territory that's preempted," he said.

The judge also presented the plaintiffs's statements, who said they were afraid of traveling in and out of Florida with friends or family without legal immigration status due to the risk of being arrested, prosecuted or having their family members deported.

The legislation funds the program to relocate illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities while restricting access to identification cards and requiring more companies to use E-Verify, a federal system that determines whether employees can legally work in the country. However, the judge only blocked the provision related to the transportation of immigrants.

Governor Ron DeSantis, who signed the legislation into law in 2023, has stressed that he will not tolerate illegal immigration, “let alone lawlessness committed by illegal aliens who shouldn’t be here in the first place.”

DeSantis has been one of the governors who has most firmly opposed illegal immigration in response to the Biden administration's policies that have caused a significant immigration crisis in the country.