The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has failed to release public records for nearly a year

MIAMI, FL – Today, the ACLU of Florida filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in a state court for refusing to promptly turn over records directly related to immigration-related laws and policies, specifically regarding the transportation of undocumented immigrants from the U.S.-Mexico border. The complaint claims that the FDLE has unlawfully delayed production of documents on the matter for nearly a year, violating Florida public records laws and the Florida Constitution. 

The request for public records by the organization is related to claims made by the DeSantis administration in recent years regarding alleged negative impacts on Florida due to the transportation of immigrants from the Southern Border. However, almost no evidence supporting those claims has been made publicly available, despite the administration claiming the State would collect evidence.

The lawsuit specifically seeks records related to the enforcement of Executive Order 21-223, Senate Bill 1808, which barred the transportation of undocumented immigrants by common carriers into Florida, and House Bill 5001, which used Florida taxpayer funds to transport migrants at the border to selected states.

“The DeSantis administration has created a harmful environment for our immigrant community through their fear-mongering, hateful rhetoric, and discriminatory policies. However, all of their claims so far have proven to be untrue,” said Amien Kacou, staff attorney at the ACLU of Florida. “We need these records to hold the state accountable for its official rationale in escalating harmful policies targeting immigrants, help the public understand the administration’s ongoing and future actions targeting immigrants, and ensure that the rights of immigrants are not unconstitutionally threatened by the administration’s policies.”

Last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took credit for flying a group of 50 migrants and asylum seekers, including families with young children, to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The migrants were reportedly misled with false promises of housing and jobs. Americans across the country and the international community denounced DeSantis’ move as a deceptive and cruel political stunt.

The ACLU of Florida is being represented by private counsel James Slater, Faudlin Pierre, and Joshua Tarjan.

The complaint can be found here