Driver's licenses for the undocumented no longer valid in Florida

A Florida measure prohibits the issuance of a driver's license to anyone who does not provide proof of lawful presence in the United States.
Posted at 7:12 PM, Jul 05, 2023

Following the implementation of Florida's new immigration laws, the state announced Wednesday a listof states from which driver's licenses issued to undocumented immigrants will now be considered invalid.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles published on its website licenses from five states — Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Vermont — that can no longer be used if the driver is in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant.

The department said on its website that the situation "is evolving," and said it "may change due to the revision of driver license issuance requirements in other states," saying the list could be updated. 

The state's controversial new law, Senate Bill 1718, took effect Saturday, sparking protests across Florida over the last few months.

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The measure prohibits the issuance of a driver's license to anyone who does not provide proof of lawful presence in the U.S., and specifies how out-of-state driver licenses issued to undocumented immigrants are invalid in Florida. 

Those presenting an invalid out-of-state driver's license during a traffic stop will be subject to the penalties outlined in Section 322.03 of Florida Statutes.

"Someone who is in our country illegally and has violated our laws should not possess a government-issued ID which allows them access to state-funded services and other privileges afforded to lawful residents," Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement. 

"The Biden administration may continue to abdicate its responsibilities to secure our border, but Florida will stand for the rule of law. Even if the federal government refuses. Florida will act decisively to protect our citizens, our state, and our country," a statement from DeSantis said. 

"FLHSMV and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol are prepared to strictly enforce Senate Bill 1718," Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Dave Kerner said. 

"This legislation supports two of our primary goals: to enhance homeland security and to interdict criminal activity. It communicates our state policy that Florida will not provide incentives to undocumented immigrants, while reminding criminal cartels and those who are planning to unlawfully cross our national border that Florida should not be their destination of choice. Florida will not accept driver's licenses from those who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States. By doing this, we commit to a safer Florida," Kerner continued.

Florida's new immigration reform law also requires work status checks for new hires at businesses with 25 or more employees. It increases penalties against those who knowingly hire or transport undocumented immigrants in Florida. 

The new policy allocates another $12 million for Florida's migrant relocation program.

This story was originally published by Scott Sutton at Scripps News West Palm Beach in Florida.