State warns undocumented immigrants from 5 states of penalties for driving with special licenses
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Refugees in USA
Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Vermont issue 'driver privilege cards' no longer accepted in Florida.

Attention undocumented immigrants from Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Vermont: Although your state gave you a drivers’ license, it’s not valid in the Sunshine State.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) put out an “in case you missed it” announcement that the state’s new law (SB 1718) cracking down on illegal immigration that went into effect July 1 means special drivers licenses for the undocumented from those states are invalid. They are often called “driver privilege cards” or “limited purpose” cards.

“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 prepared statement.

“The (President Joe) 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.”

The new law also invalidated identification that some Florida counties, like Broward and Miami-Dade, partnered with nonprofits to provide for illegal immigrants.

Anyone driving without a valid license in Florida could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Democrats protested this aspect of the law, noting that drivers who come to this state are likely to miss the note on the state’s FLHSMV website that warns undocumented immigrants with drivers’ licenses about Florida’s law. It’s ironic for a state that welcomes and draws tourists from all over the country, Democrats said.

“You are going down the wrong road,” Central Florida Democratic Sen. Victor Torres said during a Senate committee hearing as the bill moved toward approval along party lines.

The new law was highlighted as the strongest state-level crackdown in the country and a response to the federal government’s failure to stop a flood of migrants coming across the country’s southern border.

Other controversial aspects of the law began July 1, requiring hospitals receiving Medicaid to document patients’ immigration status and employers to verify employees’ immigration status using the federal E-Verify system. It also criminalizes taking illegal immigrants across state lines, even if it was a family member going to a doctor’s appointment.

Enforcing this means cutting down on the incentives illegal immigrants have to come to Florida, according to FLHSMV’s Executive Director Dave Kerner. He said both FLHSMV and the Florida Highway Patrol are prepared to enforce the new provision.

“Florida will not accept driver licenses from those who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States,” Kerner’s prepared statement said. “By doing this, we commit to a safer Florida.”

Visitors from other countries, however, can present a license from another country.

The list of states could be expanded if more states add special licenses for illegal immigrants, the release from FLHSMV says.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Earl Pitts American

    July 5, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    That’s it America,
    Would Trump have done something like this?
    The answer is No.
    Decisions like this are why America needs “THE RONALD” in The White House.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts “Election Forcaster” American

  • WhatNow

    July 5, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    Idiot Florida governor and legislature seem to be doing everything they can think of to diminish tourism to the state. Morons.

  • Dont Say FLA

    July 5, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Welcome to Florida where it’s too dangerous having you foreigners without immigration papers driving a car, so here, have a gun! Take two! Yes, folks, we used to give out orange juice at the Florida Welcome Center, but now we hand out AR15s. Don’t enter Florida without one! You’ll need it, for sure.

  • My Take

    July 6, 2023 at 12:53 am

    “Florida will not accept driver licenses from those who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States,”
    Except for those of us who happen to carry a passport or federal ID how would any of us US citizens prove that on demand?
    Voter’s registration card maybe.

  • Rude Eye

    July 6, 2023 at 11:23 am

    Florida is the ‘State of Freedom’ unless you are…..

  • My Take

    July 6, 2023 at 10:04 pm

    It’s just one more “look at me” honk from “Round Red Nose” DeSSantis’s clown horn.

  • Paywithmoon

    July 11, 2023 at 4:50 am

    Effective immediately, Florida no longer accepts ‘driver privilege cards’ issued by Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This change may impact individuals from these states when it comes to driver’s license verification in Florida. It’s crucial to stay informed and ensure compliance with the updated requirements for driver identification.

Comments are closed.


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