Judge Blocks Key Portion of Ron DeSantis’ Anti-Immigration Law

A federal judge last week revised an injunction he imposed on part of Florida’s new law cracking down on illegal immigration just one day after he ordered it.

US District Judge Roy Altman of the Southern District of Florida on May 22 ordered a statewide injunction on the “Unauthorized Alien Transport” section of SB 1718 that imposes felony charges on those who transport non-citizens who enter the United States illegally into the state of Florida.

That section of the law was challenged by the Farmworker Association of Florida and a group of individual plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit last July requesting a preliminary injunction to block the “Unauthorized Alien Transport” section from taking effect, arguing that Florida lacked the authority to regulate illegal immigration.

In his initial order, the judge cited previous federal rulings that have consistently established that the federal government, and not the states, has sole authority over immigration law in the US.

Altman wrote in his initial decision that the state overstepped its authority by authorizing the arrest of those violating federal immigration law and that it intruded into the authority of the federal government.

However, one day after granting the preliminary injunction, Judge Altman had a change of heart.

In an order issued on May 23, the judge cited an Arkansas case and wrote that after “further reflection” and in light of the “national conversation” in “the legal academy and the judiciary” on whether it was proper for courts to impose “universal injunctions as a matter of preliminary relief,” he was requesting “further briefing on the scope of the injunction.”

The Trump-appointed federal judge ordered attorneys for both the state and the plaintiffs to file additional briefs by Thursday, June 6 on whether the injunction should be limited to the plaintiffs who have proven legal standing or to all of the plaintiffs in the case, and if the injunction should be limited to just the Southern District of Florida or the entire state.