Legal Organizations and Civil Rights Groups File Lawsuits Challenging Florida’s Immigration and Voting Policies

On July 19th, 2023, several legal organizations and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against Florida’s new immigration policy. The lawsuit argues that the law impedes the federal immigration scheme and puts state officials in an unlawful position of making complex determinations about people’s immigration status and history.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers claim that the law prevents immigrants from entering Florida, which goes against the federal immigration system. They also argue that state officials should not be responsible for determining individuals’ immigration status and history, as this should be handled at the federal level.

In addition to the immigration lawsuit, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) has filed a separate lawsuit against Governor Ron DeSantis and local elections officials. They allege that the state has put in place a complicated and intimidating scheme to block people from voting, which they argue is unconstitutional and violates federal voting laws.[0]

The FRRC lawsuit specifically focuses on voter eligibility in Miami-Dade’s House District 118. They contend that a special general election should be called to replace former Representative Juan Alfonso Fernandez-Barquin, a Republican.[1] The lawsuit claims that Governor DeSantis has a legal duty to fix the dates of the special election in the district.[1]

The voting rights restoration coalition led the effort to end Florida’s lifetime ban on convicted felons voting.[0] In 2018, voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to most felons, with exceptions for those convicted of murder or sex offenses.[2] However, the Florida Legislature later required individuals with felony convictions to pay any legal financial obligations, such as fines and fees, before regaining their right to vote.[2]

The lawsuit argues that the state has created a bureaucratic system that prevents people with felony convictions from voting or even determining their eligibility to vote.[2] They claim that this violates the rights of individuals who should have their voting rights restored under Amendment 4.

In addition to these lawsuits, migrant workers and advocates have filed a federal lawsuit challenging part of a new Florida law that makes it a felony to transport people who enter the country illegally into the state. They argue that the law is vague and will lead to unlawful arrest, prosecution, and harassment.[3]

The law imposes penalties on individuals who transport immigrants who entered the United States illegally and have not been inspected by the federal government since their unlawful entry.[4] The lawsuit claims that individuals can be charged with a second-degree felony for each violation of the law.[3]

Overall, these lawsuits highlight various issues with Florida’s new immigration and voting policies. The plaintiffs argue that these laws infringe on individuals’ rights and are unconstitutional.[5] They believe that these lawsuits will restore the rights of immigrants and ensure fair and equal treatment for all residents of Florida.

0. “Florida and DeSantis blasted over voter eligibility in new federal lawsuit” POLITICO, 19 Jul. 2023,

1. “Miami Beach struggles with control of Spring Break alcohol sales” Miami Today, 19 Jul. 2023,

2. “Voting rights group files lawsuit against DeSantis on felon voting eligibility” Florida Phoenix, 19 Jul. 2023,

3. “Migrant workers and advocates challenge new Florida immigration law” Orlando Weekly, 17 Jul. 2023,

4. “Florida Immigration Bill SB 1718 Lawsuit Challenge” The National Law Review, 18 Jul. 2023,

5. “Rights Groups Sue Over Anti-Immigrant Florida Law ‘Designed to Inflict Cruelty'” Common Dreams, 17 Jul. 2023,

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