Miami-Dade County to allow IDs for undocumented immigrants

Commissioners in Florida's Miami-Dade County have given a nonprofit the green light to issue IDs for immigrants who are in the country illegally and others who don’t have identification.

The plan proposed by Mayor Daniella Levine Cava passed by a 7-2 vote Tuesday. Supporters note that immigrants often struggle to gain access to their children’s schools or to coronavirus tests and vaccines. They say the IDs also will enable them to use library resources, local recreation facilities and storm shelters, and provide them with the necessary identification to return to their homes after evacuating during hurricanes or fires.

When she was a Miami-Dade commissioner, Levine Cava unsuccessfully proposed community IDs modeled on other municipalities in North Carolina and Virginia. In Florida, Broward and Palm Beach counties already accept community IDs.

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The two commissioners voting against the IDs voiced concerns that they could lead to fraudulent activity.

Commissioner Rene Garcia said that when he was a Republican state senator he had filed a bill to allow driver’s licenses for immigrants who are in the country illegally that didn’t pass. With this plan, he said he is worried about allowing a nonprofit organization to run it.

"We are passing this to a third-party vendor," he said. "If we think that this is not going to lead to fraud, that this is not going to lead to opening the door for other activities to happen in this community ... we are all mistaken."

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Commissioner Jean Monestime said he was thankful he was allowed to register for school and get a student ID when he first arrived from Haiti.

"I arrived here as an undocumented American and when I signed up myself to school, someone somehow realized that it was genuine," Monestime said. "I had no one identifying me."