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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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Corruption Chronicles

Fla. County Gives Illegal Immigrants Special IDs to Get Vaccines, Public Services

Florida’s second-most populous county is the state’s first to offer illegal immigrants identification cards so they can obtain taxpayer-funded services, including COVID-19 vaccines. Elected officials in Broward County, situated in southeast Florida with a population of about two million, unanimously passed the measure with ardent support from the county’s top law enforcement officer, Sheriff Gregory Tony. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Tony to the elected position after suspending former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel for mishandling the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Tony won his first election in November to remain the county’s top cop. In a social media post published by local news outlets Tony thanked Broward County. “Together, we did this. I look forward to leading the great & hard-working people at the Broward Sheriff’s Office over the next four years as we continue to make BSO the finest law enforcement agency in Florida and an example of excellence for the nation,” Tony wrote. The sheriff fully backs the new ID cards for illegal immigrants and says they will have a positive impact on public safety, according to a local news report. Tony even wrote a letter of support to the Broward County commissioner who introduced the legislation to create the special IDs for those in the country illegally. This may seem strange considering he runs Florida’s  largest sheriff’s department with 5,400 employees, including nearly 3,000 certified deputies. “Today, Broward County has thousands of residents who lack identification for various reasons,” Sheriff Tony’s letter to the commissioner reads. “With the homeless, undocumented, formerly incarcerated, to elderly, these and other bureaucratically-challenged residents do not have access to many basic and vital services. The community ID will provide these residents with a way to access those services.”

Support for the special IDs from the top law enforcement official in one of its largest counties is at odds with the state’s typically strong stance on illegal immigration. Florida is not one of the nation’s 11 states to offer illegal aliens sanctuary and no local government in the Sunshine state officially provides it either, though some have toyed with idea. Florida has also resisted a nationwide movement to provide illegal immigrants with driver’s licenses. Sixteen states along with the District of Columbia offer illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Among the states are California, New York, Oregon, Nevada, Vermont, Washington State and Connecticut. In 2020 Virginia became the latest to grant illegal aliens driving privileges. Many open borders groups have expressed concern that the information on the licenses will be shared with federal authorities.

To protect the privacy of illegal immigrants Broward County will not issue the special IDs, but rather a nonprofit will carry out the task to avoid potential public records requests. Technically the cards are called “community IDs” and a third-party issues them with the approval of local governments. It allows the personal information of recipients to be kept private because nonprofits typically do not have to comply with public records laws like cities, counties, states, and other taxpayer-funded entities. The Broward County community IDs will be issued by Legal Aid Service of Broward County, a group that provides free legal advice and representation to the county’s “disadvantaged,” including illegal immigrants. The group helps improve the lifestyle and living conditions in low-income communities and encourages self-sufficiency, according to its website.

It is not clear how Legal Aid was chosen to administer Broward County’s new IDs cards, but the measure to do so was passed after a “months-long campaign of advocacy and outreach by a diverse coalition of community organizations,” a local news article reveals. Predictably, the groups advocate for open borders and rights for illegal aliens. They include United We Dream, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Hispanic Unity of Florida, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). It is noteworthy to mention that the SPLC is a radical leftist nonprofit that lists conservative organizations that disagree with it on social issues on a catalog of “hate groups.” Its famous “hate map” helped a gunman commit an act of terrorism against a conservative nonprofit in 2012. The Virginia man, Floyd Lee Corkins, was sentenced to 25 years in prison though prosecutors recommended 45 because his crime was an act of terrorism. Even the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) officially reprimanded the SPLC for its hateful attacks, documents obtained by Judicial Watch show.


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