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Driver Licenses and ID Cards are more secure

CONTACT: Robert Sanchez
Public Information Administrator

May 15, 2002

TALLAHASSEE--Florida’s driver licenses and identification cards will be more secure because of a bill that Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law today. The bill (CS/SB 520) establishes penalties for knowingly selling, manufacturing, or delivering – or offering to sell, manufacture or deliver – any "blank, forged, stolen, fictitious, counterfeit, or unlawfully issued" driver license or identification card.

The bill also codifies changes made in response to Executive Order 2001-300, which Governor Bush signed on October 11, 2001 in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. These changes include a provision that the Florida driver licenses and identification cards of non-U.S. citizens whose stay in Florida is temporary will expire when their U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service documents expire.

The new law does not affect the 1999 statute requiring all applicants for a Florida driver license or identification card to provide documentary proof of their legal presence in the United States when such proof has not been previously established.

However, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in concert with the Governor, has initiated an outreach program to address the concerns of non-U.S. citizens. Informative brochures in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole have been prepared. They offer details concerning the documents required to obtain a license or ID card. Acceptable documents include those indicating that license applicants have submitted information to the INS and are awaiting a determination of their status. Such applicants may be entitled to a two-year license.

The department also has hired a Miami-based liaison to Florida’s Hispanic community. One of his goals is to dispel misunderstandings. For instance, driver license examiners do not seize and keep valid immigration documents, nor do they summon the INS for the purpose of arresting non-U.S. citizens. Rather, the examiners briefly take custody of the documents for the purpose of making copies, after which the documents are returned.

"Our goal is to treat all of our customers with respect while ensuring that all persons who obtain a Florida driver license or identification card are who they say they are," said Fred O. Dickinson, Executive Director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

2002 Press Releases       DHSMV Press Releases

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