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City of South Miami v. Desantis

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

September 30, 2019

CITY OF SOUTH MIAMI, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
RON DESANTIS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          BETH BLOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS CAUSE is before the Court on Plaintiffs'[1] Amended Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Request for Hearing. ECF No. [47] (“Amended Motion”). Defendants[2] filed a Response in Opposition to the Motion, ECF No. [19] (“Response”), to which Plaintiffs replied, ECF No. [39] (“Reply”). Defendants were also permitted to file a Surreply in Opposition, ECF No. [45] (“Surreply”), in order to respond to Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint, ECF No. [38] (“Amended Complaint”), which added one additional Plaintiff. The United States of America filed a Statement of Interest, ECF No. [23], to which Plaintiffs responded, ECF No. [50] (“SOI Response”). Amici curiae were permitted to file an amicus brief in support of Plaintiffs, ECF No. [61] (“Amicus Brief”). The instant Amended Motion requests that the Court grant a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from enforcing Chapter 908 of the Florida Statutes because the law is preempted by federal immigration law and is unconstitutionally vague. The Court has carefully considered the Amended Motion, all opposing and supporting submissions, the parties' arguments presented at the Hearing, the record in this case, and the applicable law, and is otherwise fully advised. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' Amended Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On May 2, 2019, the Florida legislature passed Senate Bill 168 (“SB 168”), which aimed to further the State of Florida's interest in “cooperat[ing] and assist[ing] the federal government in the enforcement of federal immigration laws within this state.” Fla. Stat. § 908.101 (2019); ECF No. [5-1] at 2. The law was adapted from a model law originally drafted by organizations designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be hate groups, based on their anti-immigrant platforms. ECF No. [38] at 26. Moreover, SB 168 was described by its sponsors as an “anti-sanctuary cities law.” Id. at 26, 27. On June 14, 2019, Governor DeSantis signed SB 168 into law, and it was enacted as Chapter 908 of the Florida Statutes. See Fla. Stat. ch. 908; ECF No. [5-1] at 7. Among other things, SB 168 prohibits so-called “sanctuary policies” that indicate certain jurisdictions' intent not to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). ECF No. [19] at 4. The law delineates specific immigration enforcement efforts with which local jurisdictions must comply. These include complying with immigration detainers and transporting aliens to federal facilities. Id. at 4-5; see Fla. Stat. § 908.105; Fla. Stat. § 908.104(4). Furthermore, under SB 168, the Attorney General and the Governor are vested with enforcement authority to seek injunctive relief or to exercise the Governor's suspension power, should a government official fail to comply with the law's mandates. Fla. Stat. § 908.107. This enforcement provision is scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2019. ECF No. [19] at 5.

         The instant action challenges the constitutionality of numerous provisions of SB 168 and seeks injunctive and declaratory relief to prevent the law from taking effect. ECF No. [38] at 3.

         A. Relevant SB 168 Provisions

         The provisions of SB 168 that are being challenged are reproduced in full below. Any supplemental provisions that are relevant to the Court's analysis are also set forth below.

         SB 168 sets forth the definition of certain terms used in the statute in § 908.102. Plaintiffs Amended Complaint specifically challenges § 908.102(6)'s definition of “sanctuary policy” (“Sanctuary Definition”). Nevertheless, many of the other definitions in this section are relevant to the Court's analysis.

         Definitions.-As used in this chapter, the term:

(1) “Federal immigration agency” means the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Homeland Security, a division within such an agency, including United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and United States Customs and Border Protection, any successor agency, and any other federal agency charged with the enforcement of immigration law.
(2) “Immigration detainer” means a facially sufficient written or electronic request issued by a federal immigration agency using that agency's official form to request that another law enforcement agency detain a person based on probable cause to believe that the person to be detained is a removable alien under federal immigration law, including detainers issued pursuant to 8 U.S.C. ss. 1226 and 1357 along with a warrant described in paragraph (c). For purposes of this subsection, an immigration detainer is deemed facially sufficient if:
(a) The federal immigration agency's official form is complete and indicates on its face that the federal immigration official has probable cause to believe that the person to be detained is a removable alien under federal immigration law; or
(b) The federal immigration agency's official form is incomplete and fails to indicate on its face that the federal immigration official has probable cause to believe that the person to be detained is a removable alien under federal immigration law, but is supported by an affidavit, order, or other official documentation that indicates that the federal immigration agency has probable cause to believe that the person to be detained is a removable alien under federal immigration law; and
(c) The federal immigration agency supplies with its detention request a Form I-200 Warrant for Arrest of Alien or a Form I-205 Warrant of Removal/Deportation or a successor warrant or other warrant authorized by federal law.
(3) “Inmate” means a person in the custody of a law enforcement agency.
(4) “Law enforcement agency” means an agency in this state charged with enforcement of state, county, municipal, or federal laws or with managing custody of detained persons in this state and includes municipal police departments, sheriffs' offices, state police departments, state university and college police departments, county correctional agencies, and the Department of Corrections.
(5) “Local governmental entity” means any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state.
(6) “Sanctuary policy” means a law, policy, practice, procedure, or custom adopted or allowed by a state entity or local governmental entity which prohibits or impedes a law enforcement agency from complying with 8 U.S.C. s. 1373 or which prohibits or impedes a law enforcement agency from communicating or cooperating with a federal immigration agency so as to limit such law enforcement agency in, or prohibit the agency from:
(a) Complying with an immigration detainer;
(b) Complying with a request from a federal immigration agency to notify the agency before the release of an inmate or detainee in the custody of the law enforcement agency;
(c) Providing a federal immigration agency access to an inmate for interview;
(d) Participating in any program or agreement authorized under s. 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. s. 1357; or
(e) Providing a federal immigration agency with an inmate's incarceration status or release date.
(7) “State entity” means the state or any office, board, bureau, commission, department, branch, division, or institution thereof, including institutions within the State University System and the Florida College System.

Fla. Stat. § 908.102.

         Based on § 908.102(6)'s Sanctuary Definition, § 908.103 states, “Sanctuary policies prohibited.-A state entity, law enforcement agency, or local governmental entity may not adopt or have in effect a sanctuary policy.” Fla. Stat. § 908.103 (“Sanctuary Prohibition”).[3]

         The requirement that state and local law enforcement entities and agencies cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts, § 908.104, states:

Cooperation with federal immigration authorities.-
(1) A law enforcement agency shall use best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law. This subsection applies to an official, representative, agent, or employee of the entity or agency only when he or she is acting within the scope of his or her official duties or within the scope of his or her employment.[4]
(2) Except as otherwise expressly prohibited by federal law, a state entity, local governmental entity, or law enforcement agency, or an employee, an agent, or a representative of the entity or agency, may not prohibit or in any way restrict a law enforcement agency from taking any of the following actions with respect to information regarding a person's immigration status:
(a) Sending the information to or requesting, receiving, or reviewing the information from a federal immigration agency for purposes of this chapter.
(b) Recording and maintaining the information for purposes of this chapter.
(c) Exchanging the information with a federal immigration agency or another state entity, local governmental entity, or law enforcement agency for purposes of this chapter.
(d) Using the information to comply with an immigration detainer.
(e) Using the information to confirm the identity of a person who is detained by a law enforcement agency.
(3)(a) For purposes of this subsection, the term “applicable criminal case” means a criminal case in which:
1. The judgment requires the defendant to be confined in a secure correctional facility; and
2. The judge:
a. Indicates in the record under s. 908.105 that the defendant is subject to an immigration detainer; or
b. Otherwise indicates in the record that the defendant is subject to a transfer into federal custody.
(b) In an applicable criminal case, when the judge sentences a defendant who is the subject of an immigration detainer to confinement, the judge shall issue an order requiring the secure correctional facility in which the defendant is to be confined to reduce the defendant's sentence by a period of not more than 12 days on the facility's determination that the reduction in sentence will facilitate the seamless transfer of the defendant into federal custody. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “secure correctional facility” means a state correctional institution as defined in s. 944.02 or a county detention facility or a municipal detention facility as defined in s. 951.23.
(c) If the information specified in sub-subparagraph (a)2.a. or sub-subparagraph (a)2.b. is not available at the time the sentence is pronounced in the case, but is received by a law enforcement agency afterwards, the law enforcement agency shall notify the judge who shall issue the order described by paragraph (b) as soon as the information becomes available.
(4) When a county correctional facility or the Department of Corrections receives verification from a federal immigration agency that a person subject to an immigration detainer is in the law enforcement agency's custody, the agency may securely transport the person to a federal facility in this state or to another point of transfer to federal custody outside the jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency may transfer a person who is subject to an immigration detainer and is confined in a secure correctional facility to the custody of a federal immigration agency not earlier than 12 days before his or her release date. A law enforcement agency shall obtain judicial authorization before securely transporting an alien to a point of transfer outside of this state.[5]
(5) This section does not require a state entity, local governmental entity, or law enforcement agency to provide a federal immigration agency with information related to a victim of or a witness to a criminal offense if the victim or witness timely and in good faith responds to the entity's or agency's request for information and cooperation in the investigation or prosecution of the offense.
(6) A state entity, local governmental entity, or law enforcement agency that, pursuant to subsection (5), withholds information regarding the immigration information of a victim of or witness to a criminal offense shall document the victim's or witness's cooperation in the entity's or agency's investigative records related to the offense and shall retain the records for at least 10 years for the purpose of audit, verification, or inspection by the Auditor General.
(7) This section does not authorize a law enforcement agency to detain an alien unlawfully present in the United States pursuant to an immigration detainer solely because the alien witnessed or reported a crime or was a victim of a criminal offense.
(8) This section does not apply to any alien unlawfully present in the United States if he or she is or has been a necessary witness or victim of a crime of domestic violence, rape, sexual exploitation, sexual assault, murder, manslaughter, assault, battery, human trafficking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, involuntary servitude, fraud in foreign labor contracting, blackmail, extortion, or witness tampering.

Fla. Stat. § 908.104.

         Section 908.105 mandates that state and local law enforcement agencies comply with immigration detainers received by federal immigration authorities (“Detainer Mandate”).

         Duties related to immigration detainers.-

(1) A law enforcement agency that has custody of a person subject to an immigration detainer issued by a federal immigration agency shall:
(a) Provide to the judge authorized to grant or deny the person's release on bail under chapter 903 notice that the person is subject to an immigration detainer.
(b) Record in the person's case file that the person is subject to an immigration detainer.
(c) Upon determining that the immigration detainer is in accordance with s. 908.102(2), comply with the requests made in the immigration detainer.
(2) A law enforcement agency is not required to perform a duty imposed by paragraph (1)(a) or paragraph (1)(b) with respect to a person who is transferred to the custody of the agency by another law enforcement agency if the transferring agency performed that duty before the transfer.
(3) A judge who receives notice that a person is subject to an immigration detainer shall cause the fact to be recorded in the court record, regardless of whether the notice is received before or after a judgment in the case.

Fla. Stat. § 908.105.

         Moreover, § 908.106 requires county correctional facilities to enter into agreements with the federal government for the reimbursement of costs incurred pursuant to honoring immigration detainer requests (“Cost Reimbursement”).

Reimbursement of costs.-Each county correctional facility shall enter into an agreement or agreements with a federal immigration agency for temporarily housing persons who are the subject of immigration detainers and for the payment of the costs of housing and detaining those persons. A compliant agreement may include any contract between a correctional facility and a federal immigration agency for housing or detaining persons subject to immigration detainers, such as basic ordering agreements in effect on or after July 1, 2019, agreements authorized by s. 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. s. 1357, or successor agreements and other similar agreements authorized by federal law.

Fla. Stat. § 908.106.

         Finally, in the event that state and local officers fail to comply with the immigration enforcement efforts specified in SB 168, § 908.107 sets forth the Governor and the Attorney General's ability to enforce Chapter 908.

Enforcement.-
(1) Any executive or administrative state, county, or municipal officer who violates his or her duties under this chapter may be subject to action by the Governor in the exercise of his or her authority under the State Constitution and state law. Pursuant to s. 1(b), Art. IV of the State Constitution, the Governor may initiate judicial proceedings in the name of the state against such officers to enforce compliance with any duty under this chapter or restrain any unauthorized act contrary to this chapter.
(2) In addition, the Attorney General may file suit against a local governmental entity or local law enforcement agency in a court of competent jurisdiction for declaratory or injunctive relief for a violation of this chapter.
(3) If a local governmental entity or local law enforcement agency violates this chapter, the court must enjoin the unlawful sanctuary policy. The court has continuing jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter and may enforce its orders with the initiation of contempt proceedings as provided by law.
(4) An order approving a consent decree or granting an injunction must include written findings of fact that describe with specificity the existence and nature of the sanctuary policy that violates this chapter.

Fla. Stat. § 908.107.

         B. This Action

         Following the enactment of SB 168, on July 16, 2019, Plaintiffs initiated this action against Defendants, ECF No. [1] (“Complaint”), and filed their original Motion for Preliminary Injunction, ECF No. [5], and accompanying memorandum of law, ECF No. [5-1]. Specifically, Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that SB 168's Detainer Mandate, Transport Requirement, and Cost Reimbursement provisions are preempted by federal law, and that the “Best Efforts” provision and the Sanctuary Provisions are unconstitutionally vague.

         On August 21, 2019, Plaintiffs amended their Complaint to include Mayor Stoddard as a Plaintiff and added two counts relating to Mayor Stoddard's claims. ECF No. [38]; ECF No. [40]. The Amended Complaint asserts the following eleven counts on behalf of the different Plaintiffs: Count I - § 908.105's Detainer Mandate violates the Supremacy Clause, U.S. Const. art. VI, § 2; Count II - § 908.104(4)'s Transport Requirement violates the Supremacy Clause; Count III - § 908.160's Cost Reimbursement violates the Supremacy Clause; Counts IV, V, and VI - § 908.102(6)'s and § 908.103's Sanctuary Provisions violate the Due Process Clause; Counts VII, VIII, and IX - § 908.104(1)'s “Best Efforts” provision violates the Due Process Clause; Count X - § 908.104(1)'s “Best Efforts” provision violates the Equal Protection Clause; and Count XI - § 908.103's Sanctuary Prohibition violates the Equal Protection Clause.[6] Id.

         On August 30, 2019, Plaintiffs amended their Motion for Preliminary Injunction to include additional arguments with regard to Mayor Stoddard's claims. ECF No. [47]. Plaintiffs' Amended Motion incorporated the arguments previously asserted in their Memorandum of Law attached to their original Motion, ECF No. [5-1], and their Reply, ECF No. [39]. Defendants filed their Response, ECF No. [19], and Surreply, ECF No. [45], [7] in opposition to the imposition of a preliminary injunction.

         The Court held a hearing on September 26, 2019, (“Hearing”), which was attended by Plaintiffs' counsel, Defendants' counsel, and counsel for the United States of America, who sought the Court's leave to participate in the hearing, ECF No. [57]; see also ECF No. [60]. During the Hearing, Plaintiffs argued in support of a preliminary injunction that SB 168's challenged provisions are unconstitutional based on preemption and vagueness. Defendants argued that Plaintiffs lack standing and that a preliminary injunction is not warranted as SB 168 is neither preempted by federal law nor unconstitutionally vague. The United States of America participated and argued that federal immigration law does not preempt any of the challenged provisions of SB 168.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Standing

         Standing is a threshold question of “whether the litigant is entitled to have the court decide the merits of the dispute or of particular issues.” Sims v. Fla. Dep't of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, 862 F.2d 1449, 1458 (11th Cir. 1989) (en banc). “[S]tanding requirements ‘are not mere pleading requirements but rather [are] an indispensable part of the plaintiff's case.'” Church v. City of Huntsville, 30 F.3d 1332, 1336 (11th Cir. 1994) (quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992)). “To establish standing, a plaintiff must have ‘suffered an injury-in-fact that would be corrected by [a] favorable decision in the lawsuit.'” Church, 30 F.3d at 1335 (quoting Cheffer v. McGregor, 6 F.3d 705, 708 (11th Cir. 1993)).

[A]t an irreducible minimum, Art. III requires the party who invokes the court's authority to “show that he personally has suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the putatively illegal conduct of the defendant, ” and that the injury “fairly can be traced to the challenged action” and “is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision.”

Valley Forge Christian Coll. v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, 454 U.S. 464, 472 (1982) (quoting Gladstone, Realtors v. Vill. of Bellwood, ...


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