Florida Gov. Vetoes Driver’s License Bill for Illegals

Fred Lucas | June 5, 2013 | 2:22pm EDT
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Rick Scott, Florida's Republican governor. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Florida’s Republican Governor  Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have allowed illegal aliens who received “deferred action” by the U.S. Homeland Security Department in 2012 to obtain state driver’s licenses going forward because he said the federal policy was “adopted without legal basis.”

“Qualifying for deferred action status does not confer substantive rights or lawful status upon an individual; it does not create a pathway to a green card or citizenship; nor does it extend to any family members of the person granted the status either,” Scott said in his June 4 veto message.

The letter was sent from the governor's office to the Florida secretary of state, Kenneth Detzner.

“Deferred action status is simply a policy of the Obama Administration, absent Congressional direction, designed to dictate removal action decisions using DHS agency discretion,” said the governor.  “It was never passed by Congress, nor is it a promulgated rule.”

In June 2012, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the Obama administration’s unilateral “deferred action” policy. Napolitano instructed the top officials at Customs and Border Protection, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use what she called “prosecutorial discretion” in not enforcing the immigration laws against certain classes of immigration lawbreakers.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

These classes of people included illegal aliens who arrived in the United States before their sixteenth birthday, had graduated from high school or served in the military, had not been convicted of “significant” or “multiple” misdemeanors, and had not yet turned 30.

The Florida legislature passed House Bill 235 that allowed those illegals meeting the “deferred action” criteria to obtain a temporary driver’s license in the state.

“Given that deferred action status does not confer substantive rights or lawful status upon an individual, Florida is best served by relying on current state law,” said Gov. Scott. “Already, Florida law allows those with a federal employment authorization card, without regard to their deferred action status, to obtain a temporary Florida driver license.”

“Although the Legislature may have been well-intentioned in seeking to expedite the process to obtain a temporary driver license, it should not have been done by relying on a federal government policy adopted without legal basis,” Scott said.

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