Orlando Democratic Representative Anna Eskamani is co-sponsoring a bill to allow illegal immigrants living in Florida to legally obtain a state driver’s license.
“We can talk about the need to reform immigration as a whole, but this is one solution to make sure that our roads are safer,” Eskamani said over the phone on Thursday.
Illegal immigrants would still have to take a driving test to get a license, and they’d be able to buy car insurance, which Eskamani said would generate additional revenue for the state. She also believes the bill will encourage people to report accidents and crimes they see on the road.
Eskamani agreed with the assessment that the bill (HB 969) does not attempt to change immigration policy but rather change policy dealing with Florida’s current immigrant situation.
“On our roads, you have people who are undocumented who are driving their kids to daycare, who are going to work,” Eskamani said. “They’re doing their best to live life to its fullest potential.”
Under current Florida law, residents must prove U.S. citizenship or show a resident alien green card to get a state driver’s license. This bill would allow people to use documents such as foreign passports, international birth certificates, or tax ID number to get one.
With the 2019 legislative session well underway in Tallahassee, neither the bill nor its Senate companion has seen a committee vote.