By Vanessa Romo
This provision was among the most hotly contested and will likely face strong legal challenges because it’s so poorly written, attorney Evelyn Wiese told NPR.
“As someone who has practiced immigration law for many years, I’m not exactly sure what the law means by ‘inspected,'” she said.
Wiese noted that the Republican lawmakers failed to define the term in the Florida bill and that it deviates from federal immigration laws. Without clarification, she said, legislators have created a situation that could lead to tens of thousands of people being falsely arrested and possibly detained.
“That’s causing a lot of fear for mixed-status families, for mixed-status groups of friends,” Wiese added.
The Florida Policy Institute estimates that there are 130,000 U.S. citizens in Florida who are married to undocumented immigrants. It is conceivable that under the law, a U.S.-born spouse traveling from out of state could be charged with a third-degree felony for transporting their husband or wife into Florida. Similarly, farmworkers who travel together or with family could also be charged.