MIAMI ( Associated Press) – Immigrant rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other officials over the constitutionality of the state’s immigrant resettlement program.
Three groups — the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Americans for Immigrant Justice and the Esperanza Family Support Center — filed suit against DeSantis and the state’s transportation secretary, Jared Purdue. The lawsuit was filed in federal court for the Southern District of Florida.
A few months ago, the Florida legislature approved a $12 million budget line to relocate people living in the United States illegally. The money came from interest accrued on federal money given to Florida under the US bailout plan.
The lawsuit claims the item creates an inconsistent definition of “unauthorized alien” that does not align with federal immigration laws. Immigrant rights groups say the undefined designation could include people whose presence in the country and Florida is federally authorized, but who now risk persecution simply because they seek to enter or remain in Florida. Want to
In September, Florida officials arranged flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts that carried 49 immigrants, mostly Venezuelans, to the island where former President Barack Obama is home. The local authorities were not informed in advance about the arrival of the migrants.
Republican DeSantis has claimed responsibility for the flights as part of a campaign to focus on the failed border policies of the Joe Biden administration. He used tactics similar to those of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, sending migrants to Democratic bastions without warning.
The Martha’s Vineyard flight has led to lawsuits accusing Florida of lying to fly migrants to San Antonio.
The Florida governor’s office and the Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to an email by The Associated Press seeking comment.