Tampa Democrats blast 'Ricardo' Scott on immigrant driver's license veto

In a statement that accompanied his veto, Scott blasted President Obama for his executive action to institute a policy known as "Deferred Action" that allowed young people without documentation to avoid deportation (for two years) if they met certain criteria.

"Deferred action status is simply a policy of the Obama administration absent Congressional direction, designed to dictate removal action decisions using DHS (Department of Homeland Security) agency discretion," Scott wrote in a veto message. "It was never passed by Congress, nor is it a promulgated rule."

Twenty-year-old Mexico City native Carlos Segovia came to the U.S. when he was 1 year old. He was only recently approved for Deferred Action. The son of farm workers, he said his life has already been challenging, as his parents criss-crossed the country, moving from California to the Southeast to the Mid West, seasonally picking fruits and vegetables.

"What I learned through all of that is that if you keep working hard and set your mind on something, you can accomplish anything," Segovia said. "But when there's barriers in your life and stop signs, it's really hard to keep going."

"By not signing this law it keeps the oppression on good people who want to go to school, want to do the right thing, that have no criminal record," said Tampa City Council Chairman Charlie Miranda. "This is not about Republicans, this is not about Democrats, this is about human beings who want to stay here, work here and be mainstream."

Adding more politics to the mix was Hillsborough County School Board member Susan Valdes, who called Scott's veto a huge mistake and promised that 2014 is "right around the corner."

It should be noted that state law allows undocumented immigrants to get a driver's license if they obtain a federal employment card, which is now available to those given deferred status. This was noted by Gov. Scott in his veto message.

  • Tampa Democratic Representative Janet Cruz and 'Dreamer' Carlos Segovia

While Rick Scott raises more money every day and tries to beef up a more centrist persona for his 2014 re-election bid, Florida Democrats have been relegated to the sidelines, as only state Sen. Nan Rich has officially declared her candidacy to challenge him next year. That's certainly one reason why the party seized on Scott's veto last week of a bill that would have allowed children of immigrants who are not U.S. citizens to use a new federal form to get temporary Florida driver's licenses.

"We're here to express our absolute outrage over Governor Scott's veto of HB 235," said Tampa House Democrat Janet Cruz, who kicked off a press conference in front of the West Tampa branch of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

"Where is Governor Ricardo Scott living?" Cruz continued, referring to the fact that the legislation received overwhelming support in the GOP-led Legislature (only two members of the House voted no, none in the Senate). "This is a state where there are Hispanics who contribute to this community every day. It's not hard to see that the governor is completely out of touch with our state and our diverse population, and that's a population that makes Florida great. This is a blatant slap in the face of all my constituents in District 62 and to all of our Latino families across the Tampa Bay area. This is a slap in the face that will sting long into the gubernatorial election, I promise you that."

Scott said he vetoed HB 235 because it would have benefited people who are covered by a change in federal policy instituted by President Barack Obama last year that wasn't approved by Congress.

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