FLORIDA – SB 1174, the latest legislative endeavor from the same individuals responsible for 2023’s SB 1718 Anti-Immigrant Package, took center stage on Monday, Jan 16th, as it was heard in committee. Sponsored by Senator Ingoglia, this bill has raised significant alarm within communities across the state.
During the committee hearing, Senator Ingoglia propagated misinformation about the essence of his bill meant to invalidate Community IDs, while perpetuating an environment of fear-mongering and basically equating all immigrants with terrorists and cartel members. Brave activists present at the hearing passionately spoke up about the positive impact of Community ID programs and the vital role they play in fostering inclusivity.
The language of SB 1174 raises serious concerns, unlike Senator Ingoglia’s statement, as it seeks to prohibit local governments from funding and accepting community IDs. However, during questioning by colleagues, Senator Ingoglia noticeably shied away from addressing the ramifications of restricting the acceptance of community IDs.
In a pivotal moment during the hearing, Senator Geraldine Thompson questioned Senator Ingoglia on the potential impact of the bill on communities that rely on Community IDs. Senator Ingoglia’s response only scratched the surface, stating, «This only makes sure that governments are not funding IDs.» However, it is crucial to note that the bill explicitly states that a county may not accept as identification any card or document issued by entities knowingly providing identification to individuals not lawfully present in the United States.
Law enforcement has shown support for these programs, recognizing the value they bring to community safety and to the safety of the officers who interact with them. Community IDs also allow for families to register and pick-up their children in school, get a library card, and run errands around the community. The vagueness of the bill allows it widespread impact on our families and their future ability to function in the state.
Tessa Petit, Executive Director of The Florida Immigrant Coalition said,
“Community ID programs require individuals to go through a meticulous process to obtain a card, including submitting a passport from their country of origin, and other forms of identification. Beyond the legitimacy of the process, it’s important to note the impact that IDs have on the lives of the individuals who seek them. It allows them access to basic services and day to day critical transactions. The Community IDs give legitimacy to the individuals seeking to contribute positively in our Florida communities.”
Senator Lauren Book poignantly noted at the hearing that this bill goes too far and she also expressed concern noting, “you can’t take someone’s identity in this way when all they’re trying to do is exist; they are here.»
Sonia Moreno, a beneficiary of Community IDs in Broward County expressed,
“As a Single Mother of two children born here, the Community ID has helped me to pick up my children from school, and even yesterday, which was my daughter’s first day in her classes, it helped me while I accompanied her to register. I received my Community ID in Broward the first day the program opened and I use it as a second ID when they ask me for two valid IDs. I am very grateful to Broward County and the consideration they had with families like mine.”
As the community expresses its concerns about the potential impact of SB 1174, it is imperative that a balanced and informed discussion takes place to address the legitimate needs of all members of society.