GOV. BUSH ENDORSES ILLEGAL ALIEN DRIVING BILL - Mitch Perry

04/06/04

A proposal that would allow giving undocumented immigrants drivers licenses in the Florida legislature got a big boost yesterday when Governor Bush backed the legislation..

Last year in California, a similar type of bill was credited with helping defeat former Governor Gray Davis in that state's historic recall election.....

But supporters of the Florida legislation insist that the proposal calls for much stricter security measures than what Governor Davis signed last year.

Republican State Senator Rudy Garcia of Hialeah is pushing the measure in the Senate... He says it's NOT like California's bill (roll tape#1 o.q. ""of the people of Florida")

Earlier this year, the Governor announced his support of legislation aimed at improving the working conditions of Florida's 300,000 farmworkers...Now, with his support of this controversial amendment, some analysts say the Governor is trying to make the Republican Party in Florida more friendly for the Hispanic Vote, which the Governor's Brother, George W. Bush , is desperately trying to gain in Florida.

That could be so, by Hialeah State Senator Rudy Garcia says he's been working on this issue for sometime, and is happy to have the Governor endorse it (roll tape#2 o.q."very very large")

Illegal immigrants wishing to obtain the licenses would have to submit to be cleared by background checks both in Florida and in their home countries. The state would rely on consular officials to sign off on background checks from abroad.

Bobby McCoy, is an organizer for the Central/North Florida Carpenters Regional Council, based in Tampa....He says there are many positive aspects to this proposed legislation (roll tape#2 o.q."tell who they are")

Even with Governor Bush's enthusiastic endorsement, the bill will undoubtadley will face opposition in the legislature....Melbourne State Senator Mike Haridopolous says he fears the legislation will weaken the national security of Floridians (roll tape#4 o.q."in 2000")

(roll tape#4 o.q."documentation")

A call to Governor Bush's office was not returned by airtime./ _____is a spokesperson for Governor Jeb Bush

Bobby Mc Coy from the Central /North Florida Carpenters Regional Council, says that the current system rewards undocumented workers, and allows for the exploitation of undocumented workers (roll tape#5 o.q."anytype of documentation")

Several other states last year considered loosening restrictions on driver's licenses to allow illegal immigrants to drive. Hawaii and Kansas adopted laws last year making licenses easier for illegal aliens to obtain. Immigrant-rich Arizona is considering easing its rules this year.

At least seven states allow an identification number given out to tax filers to be used as an acceptable form of ID when obtaining a driver's license. Such numbers are available to anyone who pays federal income tax, regardless of their immigration status.

Melbourne Republican Mike Haridopolos is the Chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee in the Senate....and was the only member of the Commerce, Economic Opportunities, and Consumer Services Committee to vote against the bill...Be he insists that that vote doesn't indicate the true sentiment about Garcia's legislature (roll tape#5 o.q."for it in committee")

Miami Republican Representative Gustavo Barreiro, plans to introduce a similar bill in a House committee next week, which if approved would go straight to a full vote by all House members.

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