Florida legislators are about to enact a bill that criminalizes or punishes anyone who aids or hires undocumented immigrants. One of the new crimes was giving a ride to an immigrant. Church leaders loudly complained that they would not be allowed to pick up immigrants and take them to church.

Humanitarian appeals fell on deaf ears, but the legislators went too far went they interfered with going to church.

TALLAHASSEE — State lawmakers rewrote language Monday in a sweeping immigration bill that religious leaders said could have subjected them to felony charges if they transported people living in the country illegally to church or Sunday school.

A Florida House panel advanced a revised bill that no longer makes it a felony crime to knowingly transport someone without legal status within Florida.

“If it’s within the state of Florida, they are not held liable to any wrongdoing,” said Rep. Kiyan Michael, R-Jacksonville, the bill’s sponsor.

Sister Ann Kendrick, who founded the Hope CommUnity Center in Apopka that helps Central Florida’s immigrant families, was among those calling for lawmakers to reconsider the bill.

“I cart people around all the time who are undocumented,” she said. “I’ll go to jail for… helping a kid? Wow, isn’t that the American way?”