DREAMers won’t be driving anytime soon in Florida.
On Tuesday Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have allowed some young immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally to apply for a temporary driver's license in the state.
The Republican-controlled Legislature overwhelmingly passed the bill, informally known to supporters as the “Dream Act Driver License” law, with a nearly unanimous vote.
The measure allowed young immigrants who remained in the country under an Obama administration "deferred action" policy to use federal documents to receive a temporary driver's license for at least one year.
In his message announcing the veto, Scott questioned the legality of the federal policy announced last June.
“Deferred action status is simply a policy of the Obama administration,” Scott wrote. “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.”
The Republican governor notes the policy has not been approved by Congress or as a federal rule. He says the administration order could not be used to justify letting someone have a temporary license.
While also noting a state law already allows non citizens who have federal work permits to get temporary Florida driver’s licenses, some see Scott’s decision as another way he is alienating the Hispanic population in Florida.
“It’s a political anti-Hispanic move,” said state Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, regarding Scott, who is up for reelection in 2014.
“He missed an opportunity.”
“Rick Scott continues to alienate and discriminate against thousands of undocumented immigrants,” added Florida Democratic Party spokesman Joshua Karp to the Bradenton Herald.
“Instead of joining the Legislature’s near-unanimous consensus ... (he) imposed his rigid ideology on Floridians — to the detriment of the young immigrants who are Florida’s future.”
The Florida bill was only adding an approved application for deferred status to the forms of ID which the state can accept to prove a driver’s identity when applying for a license.
However the policy, also known as DACA for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” does not confer citizenship nor a path to citizenship.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.