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A federal court temporarily blocked on Wednesday a key part of Florida's SB 1718, a law that punishes the transportation of undocumented people into the state.

The decision took place in the context of a lawsuit filed against state Attorney General Ahsley Moody by the Florida Farmworkers Association, an organization advocating for the rights of immigrant workers.

They said the law "not only violates the fundamental rights of people in the state, but also undermines their cultural richness and economic contributions."

Concretely, the law criminalizes people as human smugglers who "knowingly and willfully" cross the State line into Florida with people they know, or reasonably should know, are undocumented. It went into effect on July 1, 2023.

It defines "undocumented" as people who have "entered the United States in violation of the law and has not been inspected by the federal government." The definition also caused doubts about what it means to be "inspected" by the federal government.

The American Civil Liberties Union applauded the ruling by saying: "Section 10 has put thousands of Floridians and residents of other states -citizens and non-citizens- under at risk of arrest and being charged with grave felonies for transporting a vague category of immigrants into Florida, even for something as simple as driving a family member to a medical appointment or on holiday."

The case judge, Roy K. Altman, rejected the suit's argument about the law being vague and therefore unconstitutional, but upheld the one claiming that the state was taking over the federal government's authority on immigration matters.

Republican-led states have been clashing with the federal government over immigration enforcement. Asides from Florida, many others have recently passed laws imposing criminal punishments to undocumented immigrants. Officials have claimed that the federal government is not doing enough to stem the flow of migrants reaching the country and they are taking matters into their own hands.

The latest example took place on Tuesday, when the Department of Justice sued Oklahoma over such a law, which makes it a state crime to live in the state without legal immigration status. The bill makes this a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.

States like Texas, Georgia and Louisiana have signed similar laws to reduce the number of undocumented immigrants in their state amid the ongoing unprecedented influx of migrants through the southern border.

Texas' SB4 is the most notable of them all, allowing state police to arrest and deport unauthorized immigrants in the territory. Its implementation is currently halted by a Court of Appeals.

Other states, like Missouri and Kansas are in the process of also introducing similar laws. Iowa has already signed a similar bill into law, with the DOJ also challenging it in the courts.

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