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New law in effect for out-of-state driver’s license classes

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(The Center Square) — Driver’s license classes in five states have been singled out as no longer valid in Florida, in accordance with legislation that took effect Saturday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 presidential candidate, said Wednesday the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has published a list of classes by state which are invalid because people living in or entering the country illegally can obtain them in Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Vermont or Hawaii.

Senate Bill 1718 prohibits issuing driver’s licenses to anyone without proof of lawful presence in the U.S. Anyone presenting one of the invalid licenses at a traffic stop would be subject to criminal penalties.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has called the law a “sweeping anti-immigrant bill.”

“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 release. “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.”

The banned licenses and their classes include:

• From Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Vermont, those licenses labeled with warnings that it can’t be used for federal identification.

• Hawaii limited purpose and limited purpose provisional driver’s licenses and instruction permits marked invalid for federal purposes.

“Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol are prepared to strictly enforce Senate Bill 1718,” agency Executive Director Dave Kerner said in the release. “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.

“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.”

The Highway Department said the list is subject to periodic updates, pending legislation and actions in these and other states.

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