Florida Gov. Rick Scott sounded a bell for conservatism late Tuesday afternoon when he vetoed a bill that would have approved the issuance of drivers licenses to certain undocumented immigrants.
The bill, which passed the House on Apr. 25 and the Senate the following day, would have allowed immigrants who have obtained deferred status under a presidential executive order to legally obtain a Florida driver’s license.
Scott included a cover letter when sending the veto to Florida Secretary of State Kenneth Detzner, according to his press release.
“Florida is home to immigrants of many nationalities, who add to the cultural fabric of our great state, and whose productivity and hard work have contributed to our economic turnaround,” Scott wrote.
“Still, our nation struggles with immigration issues every day, as Americans seek to reconcile the fact that at one point our families were immigrants who came, as many do today, to work and live the American dream with the fact that the federal government has failed at enforcing the nation’s laws on this topic.”
Scott’s letter included a statement on the federal government’s own slipshod, ad hoc efforts at immigration policy.
“Despite the federal government’s inability to enforce the nation’s current immigration laws or to find common ground on how to change them, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in a June 2012 memo the immediate establishment of a ‘Deferred Action Process for Childhood Arrivals,’” Scott’s letter said.
“Through this process DHS provides that a young person illegally brought to the United States as a child will not be subject to removal if the individual meets certain criteria.”
The Republican governor then noted the special status of immigrant created by the president’s executive order and implemented by DHS does nothing to solve the problem created by immigrants residing here illegally — and may in fact exacerbate them.
“Qualifying for deferred action status does not confer substantive rights or lawful status upon an individual; it does not create a pathway to a green card or citizenship; nor does it extend to any family members of the person granted the status either,” he explained. “Deferred action status is simply a policy of the Obama Administration, absent Congressional direction, designed to dictate removal action decisions using DHS agency discretion. It was never passed by Congress, nor is it a promulgated rule.”
Democratic lawmakers were incensed over the Scott veto, with Sen. Darren Soto predicting that it would be an “anti-Hispanic bomb” before the governor even signed it.
“Make no mistake about it: This will be an anti-Hispanic bomb if he vetoes this bill,’’ Soto said as Breitbart News quoted the National Journal. “The vast majority of my peers understand we need to encourage immigrants to become working members of our society. It makes no sense that the Scott administration would veto something it’s already doing.”Soto sponsored the legislation.
It’s difficult to take issue with the idea that “we need to encourage immigrants to become working members of our society.” But to do so, they must first become legal immigrants. Issuing a driver’s license to them does not confer legal status.
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