Organizations file lawsuit against state’s new immigration policy

ORLANDO, Fla. — Several legal organizations and civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit against the state’s new immigration policy.


It states can now be charged with a felony for transporting undocumented immigrants across state lines.

The Farm Workers Association of Florida is listed as the plaintiff in the lawsuit. They’re a group that represents health and working conditions for farmers.

“This type of law violates the U.S. Constitution,” said Paul Chavez, senior supervising attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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The bill went into effect July 1. The lawsuit specifically focuses on a portion of the law that criminalizes bringing an undocumented person into Florida.

The Farmworkers Association of Florida is one of many groups impacted, but they in particular are losing people left and right.

“The Farm Workers Association has lost nearly 100 members that have left the state and have indicated that they’re not going to come back,” Chavez said. “A lot live in Florida and now are concerned if they leave, if they come back the person that’s driving them may be charged with a felony.”

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Drivers, Chavez said, are nervous too.

Organizers with the non-profit Mi Familia Vota Florida said they’re seeing a lot more than people just refusing to drive into the state.

“We had a meeting at one of the local high schools and we were told by a teacher that a lot of parents are coming into the schools, they’re pulling their kids out,” said Suhan Rosario, policy coordinator with Mi Familia Vota Florida.

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Chavez said the challenge to the law is just the start.

“This was the section that was the most obviously unconstitutional,” he said. “We do anticipate additional challenges to other sections of the law.”

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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