Saying that Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of House Bill 235 moves the burden of dealing with issuing driver liceses to qualified “dreamer” immigrants to county tax collectors, Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph joined a chorus of Democrats calling on the governor to reconsider Wednesday.
Randolph, who also is chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party Executive Committee, called the action unfair to thousands of young “dreamers” in Florida, young immigrants who came to the United States with their families as children without documentation and who now have opportunities to obtain permanent legal status.
HB 235 — which passed the Senate, 36-0, and the House, 115-2 — would have allowed them to apply for state driver licenses as soon as they received a federal status deferment letter under President Barack Obama’s June 2012 executive order.
Bbut with the veto they must also apply for and receive a work permit before they can drive. Obtaining the second document can add several months to the process, leading Randolph and HB 235 sponsor state Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, to say the governor is unnecessarily throwing delays at the young immigrants.
Beyond the delays, the veto of HB 235 also creates longterm uncertainty for dreamers since the Florida driver licenses currently are available to them only through a state administrative policy, not law, and the governor or Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles can change the policy at will, Randolph and Soto argued.