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Bills would offer driver's licenses to immigrants living in the US illegally

The Florida Immigrant Coalition says there are about 1 million undocumented immigrants on the road without proper training or certification.
Credit: Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
A Florida driver's license.

A Florida immigration group is throwing its support behind legislation to provide driver's licenses and state IDs to immigrants, no matter their legal status.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition contends two bills, one in the state House and another in the Senate, giving all immigrants access to a license would make roadways safer by ensuring more people have actually taken a driving test.

It says insurance premiums for residents would decrease as more people bought in, and the economy could get a kick-start with licensed drivers purchasing cars.

"This is just common sense policy on a humanitarian perspective but also a practical perspective," FLIC Political Director Thomas Kennedy said during a news conference.

Florida does not currently offer driving privileges to people living in the U.S. illegally. FLIC says because of this, there are about a million people on the road who do not have the proper training or certification.

Two Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez and Rep. Dotie Joseph, introduced their legislation earlier this month.

See: Senate Bill 1358: Driver Licenses and Identification Cards

See: House Bill 969: Driver Licenses

It remains to be seen how politicians will handle the legislation. In 2013, then-Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have granted temporary licenses to people who were brought to the U.S. illegally.

Twelve states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, allow unauthorized immigrants to get a driver's license, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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