Florida County to Issue IDs to Undocumented Immigrants Through Third Party

Officials in Florida's Miami-Dade County voted Tuesday in favor of issuing county identification cards to those who don't have other forms of ID.

The plan, originally proposed by County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, will allow a nonprofit to issue photo identification cards to immigrants in the country illegally, homeless people, those recently leaving incarceration and any others without access to a government ID. According to the Associated Press, this will allow individuals to get vaccines and library cards and will provide access to storm shelters and more.

Instead of the county producing the cards directly, it will provide $200,000 to Branches, a tax-preparation nonprofit, the Miami Herald reported. René Garcia and Joe Martinez—the two commissioners who voted against the measure in a 7-2 vote—expressed concern over the potential for fraud in connection to using a nonprofit to issue the IDs.

In the AP report, Garcia said while he was a state senator, he filed a bill to provide drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants, but in this situation he did not trust a "third-party vendor" to handle issuing the IDs.

"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," Garcia was quoted by the AP.

However, in a December memo from Cava to the Board of County Commissioners, Cava said Branches was an ideal candidate for the job, as it has plenty of experience helping many of the groups most likely to not have a government ID.

"This organization's thorough understanding of the various community groups in the county, years of experience in helping the community, and emphasis on nondiscrimination and inclusivity make them a fitting organization to successfully run a community ID program," she wrote.

Miami-Dade County will be joining the state's Broward and Palm Beach counties, which have similar programs, the AP added.

In April 2021, the Herald reported Broward County implemented its own community ID program run by the county's Legal Aid Service. In addition to giving more people access to community services, the IDs also allowed more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Cava's memo, the community ID will not be a substitute for a government ID, so people will not be able to use it at airports or to register to vote.

The Miami-Dade County Mayor's Office did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Daniella Levina Cava, Miami-Dade County, mayor
Miami-Dade, Florida, county commissioners voted in favor of County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava's plan to provide community IDs to undocumented immigrants and others who can't get government IDs. Above, Cava speaks to the media at a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site on December 16, 2021, in Miami. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images