Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced that the state will no longer recognize a number of out-of-state driver licenses that are given to illegal immigrants, enacting restrictions in legislation passed earlier this year.

DeSantis, who is also running for president in 2024, announced that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has published a list of out-of-state license classes that are now invalid in Florida. 

That list targets certain licenses given to illegal immigrants in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Vermont. It does not apply to typical driver licenses, but those with certain limitations — including those that state they are “not for federal identification” are not REAL ID compliant or that are dubbed “limited purpose.” 

The states targeted are those that allow those in the country illegally to obtain a form of ID and license to drive.

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Florida Governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis walks alongside his wife, Casey DeSantis, and son, Mason,  while marching in the Wolfeboro Independence Day Parade in New Hampshire on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Paul Steinhauser/Fox News Digital)

The move is due to the passing of SB 1718, a sweeping anti-illegal immigration bill signed by DeSantis earlier this year and which includes provisions that bar licenses to illegal immigrants and makes licenses distributed exclusively to them illegal.

“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,” DeSantis said in a statement. 

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“The 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,” he said.

The agency says that the list is subject to change as license issuance requirements change in other states. Dave Kerner, Executive Director of the FLHSMV, said it is prepared to “strictly enforce” the legislation.

“This legislation supports two of our primary goals: to enhance homeland security and to interdict criminal activity. It communicates our state policy that Florida will not provide incentives to undocumented immigrants, while reminding criminal cartels and those who are planning to unlawfully cross our national border that Florida should not be their destination of choice,” he said. “Florida will not accept driver licenses from those who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States. By doing this, we commit to a safer Florida.”

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It marks the latest move against illegal immigration by the Republican governor, who is currently vying for his party’s presidential nomination. He is currently running behind former President Donald Trump, who made immigration a priority in his 2016 campaign and has shown signs of doing the same for his 2024 bid.

Ron DeSantis along US-Mexico border

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis along the U.S.-Mexico border in Eagle Pass, Texas, on June 25, 2023, on the eve of a the release of a border security plan by the Republican presidential candidate. (Fox News – Alexandria Hernandez )

He has sent migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and most recently California as part of a program to relocate illegal immigrants. Florida also responded to a request for help from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott by deploying law enforcement – including National Guard troops – to the border, as well as drones and other resources.

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As a candidate, he rolled out his wide-ranging border security plan last week, promising to “stop the invasion” at the southern border while taking aim at Biden administration for the ongoing migrant crisis.

“No excuses on this. Get the job done,” he said in Texas. “It will be a day one priority.”
 



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