A Case on Unauthorized Immigrants Paused in Florida

In Florida, immigrant rights advocates had sued state officials over a new law criminalizing the transportation of unauthorized migrants. A federal judge recently put the case on hold.

Federal Judge Roy K. Altman said the case would be suspended pending a new ruling.

Shortly before this ruling, a request by those affected by the law to file their objections anonymously had also been rejected. Judge Altman ruled that their privacy concerns 'do not constitute an exceptional circumstance warranting anonymity'.

Why are the plaintiffs worried?

The complainants are worried that their identities will be revealed by the new complaints they will sign. They say that revealing their identities could undermine their fight against the new law. Judge Altman did not address this issue during the trial.

When complainants' requests for anonymity are rejected, their complaint is also rejected. In this case, they can be asked to file a new complaint. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and State Attorney Nicholas B. Cox have all argued from the beginning that the identities of these individuals should not be kept secret.

The state authorities consider the case to be groundless.

"If the court finds that even one of these nine plaintiffs cannot sue or file a declaration anonymously, the process will be back to square one and they will have to file a new complaint," the state officials on the defendant side argued.

State officials said that work was underway to ensure a 'strong response' to the incidents complained of.

The defendant state authorities believe that it would be in the court's best interest to postpone the case until the anonymity issue is resolved.

What did the challenged law change?

Effective July 1, 2023, the law requires employers with 25 or more employees to use the 'E-Verify' system to determine the eligibility of new hires. The law also makes it a crime to transport to Florida anyone who entered the United States illegally without inspection.

The Farmworker Association, one of the plaintiffs, argues that this law contradicts the rights provided by the Constitution and that only the federal government is authorized to enact immigration-related laws.

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