Home > Press Release > Drive Safe Sunshine State

Drive Safe Sunshine State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Contact: Melissa Taveras, melissa@floridaimmigrant.org, 786.663.6690 or 786.956.0352
Thomas Kennedy, thomas@floridaimmigrant.org, 786.346.0819

Elected officials, community leaders and immigrant advocates come together to support SB 1358/HB 969, which expands driver’s license access for all Floridians

WHO: Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, Rep. Dotie Joseph, elected officials, concerned members of the community
WHAT: Drive Safe Sunshine State Press Conference
WHEN: March 20, 2019 @ 12:00 pm
WHERE: Florida’s State Capitol 400 South Monroe Street, 4th Floor Rotund, Tallahassee, Florida 32399

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Elected officials, community members and immigrant advocates will come together to launch the Drive Together Sunshine State effort in support of SB 1358/HB 969 by Sen. Rodriguez and Rep. Joseph, legislation which would expand driver’s license privileges to all Florida immigrants, regardless of immigration status. Close to a million Floridians currently don’t have access to a driver’s license due to their immigration status, impacting the public safety and economic prosperity in Florida, as well as leading to the state having the third highest insurance rate in the nation. With the passage of this legislation, all Floridians would benefit from lower insurance premiums and improved public safety on roadways by ensuring that all drivers are licensed and insured. In just one year, the state could potentially see an increase in revenues to more than $4 million dollars if 75% of Floridians currently denied licenses due to their immigration status were able to receive a driver’s license.

Immigrants have a tremendous impact on Florida’s economy, with those denied licenses because of their immigration status contributing $573 million to Florida’s tax base. However, since they don’t have access to driving privileges, they face significant restrictions when attempting to access jobs. They face long commutes, may be afraid to visit the doctor or take their children to school and live in constant fear of engaging a police officer and facing deportation.

The following is a statement from Thomas Kennedy, Political Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition:

“The time is right for our state to make this change. In a time when communities are fearful about the hostile, anti-immigrant climate being created by the federal government, it is more important than ever to ensure our state supports the immigrant communities that make Florida vibrant by expanding driver’s licenses to all Floridians, regardless of immigration status. Allowing all immigrants to access driver’s licenses will not only empower communities that need our support, it will make our roads safer, bring immigrants out of the shadows and into the light while saving money for all Floridians.”

We Are Florida is a broad coalition of groups across the state fighting for our rights. But we can’t do it without your help. Our immigrant and refugee communities need everybody to make calls, stay informed and join us in Tallahassee to speak with lawmakers directly.

Upcoming Press Conferences and Mobilizations

# # #

We Are Florida is a statewide coalition of community advocates, religious leaders, service providers, unions and nonprofits dedicated to defending the rights of immigrant families across Florida.