Perera: Governor Scott Continues to Promote Racial Exclusion

June 06, 2013 –

Florida New Majority Executive Director Gihan Perera may be disappointed by Governor Rick Scott’s recent veto of HB 235, the “Dream Act Driver License” Law. But he’s not surprised.

 “Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of the Driver’s License Law is yet another example of his consistent activism against minority rights,” said Perera. “In this case, Gov. Scott is denying a law that has broad bi-partisan support and is already in current practice in the state.  In passing this bill by overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate, state officials signaled that they understood that very little is achieved economically and socially by delaying driver’s licenses to those who the state already recognizes as having a right to obtain one under President Obama’s Defered Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Executive Order.

The practice of allowing Driver’s Licenses for DREAMER is a practical safety issue for Florida’s roads and highway by cutting down on unregulated and uninsured drivers, and it is a part of ensuring that all of Florida’s residents have equal access to a basic public right,” Perera continued.  However, Governor Scott vetoed HB 235 to send a clear message:  Immigrants are not welcome here.  This message is an affront to Florida’s immigrant, and Latino communities. They are also against the long standing American tradition of inclusion.”

Perera said that Scott’s consistent record of acting time and again to deny basic democratic rights, especially in communities of color, is particularly alarming.

“This is the latest in a string of policy interventions by Scott that thwart civil rights,” added Perera. “The record is clear – Governor Scott championed to bring the Arizona anti-immigrant law to Florida, supported last year’s voter suppression law, and he reversed the practice of allowing a clear process for ex-felons to have their voting rights restored. He also attempted to purge 188,000 immigrant voters from the voter rolls.”

HB 235, also known as the “Dream Act Driver License” Law, HB235 would have allowed young people covered by the President Barak Obama’s 2012 “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) Executive Order to use their status letter to apply for a Florida driver’s license. Scott’s veto forces students to have to wait until they receive their work authorization cards in the mail, a delay that can potentially mean months of limited options and lost productivity. The measure had passed the Republican-led Florida House of Representatives by a vote of 115-2 and passed the Florida Senate unanimously.