Florida judge uses 'technical grounds' to strike down lawsuit against DeSantis over migrant flights
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) controversial initiative to relocate migrants; a program that sparked outrage among Democratic leaders, lawmakers and immigration advocates.
On Monday, November 14, Leon Circuit Judge John C. Cooper delivered the ruling but also gave the plaintiff, Florida state Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-Miami), a chance to revise his argument laid out in the suit against the Republican governor and other state officials, according to Politico.
At the time, Cooper expounded on his decision. “We’re talking about technical pleading issues, we’re not talking about the ultimate decision in this case, or anything else,” he said. “Anything that I said by the way of hypotheticals, or whatever, should not be taken as a ruling or anything of that nature, for or against.”
“I don’t know that there is an enforcement official in this, or that the governor is a quote-unquote enforcement official under this statute,” Cooper said. “It seems to me the ability to sue the governor, in this case, depends upon other facts that might be unique to the situation here, which I think need to be alleged.”
The latest ruling comes more than a month after the lawsuit was initially filed. Pizzo filed back in September after DeSantis made headlines for flying nearly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Per the news outlet, Pizzo's lawsuit seeks to "block the governor from spending any more money on the program. State lawmakers set aside $12 million for the program in the state budget."
So far, Florida has paid approximately $1.56 million to the vendor that assisted with arranging the first migrant flights.
"Pizzo’s lawsuit alleges that state officials — including those at the Department of Transportation — did not follow the guidelines for the relocation program as drawn up by the Florida Legislature in the budget language, including that money was spent on food, hotel rooms and even haircuts for migrants in Texas who were eventually sent to Massachusetts," the news outlet reports.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Pizzo said, “It’s not authorized in the Senate or the House for your dollars or my dollars to be spent in Texas.”
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