How Florida Immigration Law Affects Driver’s Licenses From Other States

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law this month tightening restrictions on undocumented immigrants. Some of those restrictions include the invalidation of driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by other states.

“About 60% of tourism in Florida actually comes from driving,” said Felipe Sousa Lazaballet of the Hope Community Center in Orlando. “So many of these people who come to the state to spend money here will no longer be able to do so or they will risk committing a felony.”

On July 1, a new Florida law will create more restrictions for undocumented immigrants.

One of the main effects of this new law will be to require employers of 25 or more employees to verify the citizenship status of workers.

The law also prohibits the issuance of driver’s licenses in Florida to undocumented persons and invalidates driver’s licenses from other states for any person undocumented while in Florida.

The law can also result in a third degree felony charge for someone who transports a person without legal status into the state.

“This is a big problem. Obviously this will disproportionately affect people who do that for a living,” Lazaballet said. “People who drive trucks and even people who drive ambulances, for example. We are talking about a law that is so large in scale that it would be detrimental to Floridians and everyone in the country.”

SEE MORE: Floridians concerned about labor effects of the new law for undocumented immigrants

Samuel Vilchez Santiago, of the American Business Immigration Coalition, said that this new law could affect tourism and commercial trucks arriving in Florida.

“The long-term effect is that people won’t want to come to Florida,” Santiago said. “That’s very concerning for our economy. It’s going to create a problem not just for Florida but for the entire country with all these trucking companies having to figure out who they can send to Florida, who they can’t send to Florida and if that person can continue to do the work they are doing elsewhere.

Supporters of the law said it is necessary because it will combat what they see as a major problem with illegal immigration.

According to the Immigration Policy Institute, there are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Currently, there are 19 states in the country that allow undocumented adults to obtain a driver’s license, arguing that the roads are safer when drivers are tested and fewer uninsured people will be behind the wheel.

Thomas Kennedy of the Florida Immigration Coalition fears the new Florida law could open doors to other states.

“Kansas just passed a similar law that is stricter,” Kennedy said. “Kansas law makes it a felony to have an undocumented person in their home or car within the state of Kansas. So this will affect mixed-status families with different immigration status.”

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