While as of late, much attention has been given to the immigration bill being considered by legislators at the national level, news on the immigration front continues to develop closer to home as well. Many residents of South Florida were likely unhappy to learn about Governor Rick Scott's recent veto of a state bill concerning the issuance of driver's licenses to the children of undocumented immigrants. The bill, which would have made it possible for these individuals to seek a temporary driver's license for at least the period of one year, had previously been passed by the state legislature with overwhelming support. Only two individuals voted against it.
The vetoed measure, known as HB 235, did not purport to give just anyone a temporary driver's license. Eligible individuals would have been limited to those who had applied and been approved for the Obama administration's immigration program known as deferred action. This means that they would have already met a series of requirements including:
- Having entered the United States before the age 16
- No older than 30-years-old as of June 2012
- No felony convictions
- Either served in the military, in school or previously graduated
While many probably feel the veto is a blow to these young people, all is not lost when it comes to them securing a driver's license. Under Florida law individuals who have a work permit can apply for a temporary license. Since part of being approved for defferred action is the receipt of a work permits, these individuals are nonetheless eligible to apply. Had HB 235 been approved however, these young people likely would have obtained the license much more quickly.
Source: The Miami Herald, "Gov. Scott vetoes immigrant driver license bill,"Gary Fineout, June 4, 2013