Florida will no longer accept driver's licenses issued by some other U.S. states to immigrants living in the country illegally under a law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis as he seeks the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
The Florida law, which took effect on July 1, is "the strongest anti-illegal immigration legislation in the country," the governor's office said in a press release on Wednesday.
The out-of-state licenses, designed specifically for unauthorized immigrants and deemed invalid by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, are from Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The list includes out-of-state licenses that indicate “Not for Federal Identification” or “Driving Privilege Only.” Those found to be driving in Florida with such licenses will face citations and other penalties.
The law also prohibits anyone without immigration documentation from getting a Florida driver's license.
“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 the release.
DeSantis has sought to draw conservative voters who favor hardline immigration policies away from Republican front-runner Donald Trump, the former president who leads DeSantis by more than 20 percentage points in national opinion polls.
The bill also blocks counties and municipalities from providing funds to individuals or organizations that issue identification documents to people without proof “of lawful presence in the United States.”
Hospitals are required to collect patients’ immigration status as part of their intake process.
Mexico's government assailed the law as racial profiling and a hate crime. “Criminalization is not the way to solve the issue of undocumented immigration,” a Mexican government statement said on Saturday.
“The existence of transnational labor markets, and the intense ties of trade and tourism between Mexico and Florida, cannot be overlooked by measures inspired by xenophobic and white nationalist sentiments,” it said.