DeSantis Signs Law Targeting Use of Community Identification

DeSantis Signs Law Targeting Use of Community Identification

Governor Ron DeSantis signed three measures on Friday, after speaking behind a poster that read, “stop illegal immigration.” The bills’ supporters claim they will make it more difficult for unauthorized immigrants to enter the state.

The proposals, which were enacted during the legislative session that concluded last week, aim to toughen the penalties for frequently driving without a license, increase the severity of the criminal penalties for those who have been deported in the past, and crack down on the usage of “community” identification cards.

“We really appreciate what people are doing who are wearing the (law enforcement) uniform to help keep our communities safe. So I think these bills will go a long way to helping make their job easier and make them even more effective,” DeSantis stated at a press conference held at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

HB 1451, arguably the most well-known law, aims to further restrict community identity cards.

The measure prohibits counties and municipalities from recognizing community identity cards if the cards were issued by organizations that have given them to individuals who are not authorized to be in the country.

The cards are meant to be an alternate form of identity; they are usually issued by non-profits or other non-governmental organizations. They cannot be used for activities like driving or voting.

For instance, in 2021 Broward County approved the usage of community ID cards. Under the Broward Community ID Project, which is managed by Legal Aid Service of Broward County, cards are issued to individuals who can demonstrate their county of residence.

“Any resident of Broward County can apply for a community ID card. This ID is especially useful to formerly incarcerated persons, foster youth, transgender persons, the homeless, new immigrants, refugees, or anyone who might face difficulties obtaining a state-issued ID. Immigration status will not be asked,” according to the organization’s website.

DeSantis referred to community IDs as “rogue identifications” prior to passing the legislation.

Nonetheless, Democrats defended the use of community IDs during last week’s parliamentary discussion.

Law enforcement officials, according to Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat from Orlando, support the use of community IDs. As well as “helping link some of our most vulnerable residents to resources,” Eskamani stated that the cards “can help residents who are experiencing homelessness.”

Rep. Johanna Lopez (D-Orlando) stated that “public safety is jeopardized when access to valid identification is restricted.”

The bill expands upon a previous version that was enacted the previous year and forbade local governments from giving funds to unauthorized immigrants in order to issue identification cards.

DeSantis signed SB 1036, a law that toughens criminal penalties for immigrants apprehended for felonies after they illegally re-enter the country after being deported for prior offenses, during his presentation in Polk County on Friday. Additionally, he approved HB 1589, a law that will toughen the consequences for driving repeatedly without a legal license.

Regarding the bill pertaining to previously deported individuals, DeSantis declared, “In the state of Florida, if you have been deported and you come to this state, and enter our state and you’re here illegally and you commit crimes, we are throwing the book at you.”

Additionally, according to DeSantis, the driver’s license requirement discourages undocumented immigrants from visiting Florida.

“We don’t recognize drivers’ licenses from other states that have been issued to illegal aliens. So, that’s smart,” DeSantis stated. “But you still have people that come and drive without a license. One of the big cures we can do for illegal immigration is to make sure people that are doing that are facing serious consequences.”