Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has endorsed a bill in his state’s legislature that would grant driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.

Bush said he favors the legislation as long as there are rigorous screening standards to ensure recipients ”won’t be terrorists,” the Miami Herald reported.

Gov. Jeb Bush

The bill would affect hundreds of thousands of people, including foreign nationals who live in Florida for part of the year.

Supporters argue it would enable people “stuck” in the long citizenship process to drive with valid licenses and insurance.

”Our roads and streets will be safer because of this,” said Sen. Rudy Garcia, according to the Herald, noting Florida’s sprawling cities virtually make a car a necessity.

By not granting the licenses, Garcia contends, the state “almost tells these folks to break the law, because that’s the only way they’re going to be doing anything.”

Bush said he would withdraw support if security precautions were relaxed and emphasized he was not encouraging more illegal immigration into the United States, the Herald said.

”We shouldn’t allow them to come into our country to begin with,” Bush said. “But once they’re here, what do you do? Do you say that they’re lepers to society? That they don’t exist? It seems that a policy that ignores them is a policy of denial.”

Under the proposed law, illegal immigrants applying for a license would have to be cleared by background checks both in Florida and in their home countries, the paper said.

Last year, several other states considered easing restrictions to allow illegal aliens to drive.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned against giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens and repealed a bill passed by outgoing Gov. Gray Davis. But as WorldNetDaily reported, the new governor has been working with a legislator to craft an new bill.

In Hawaii and Kansas new laws make it easier for illegals to get a license, and Arizona is considering a similar measure this year.

At least seven states allow anyone who pays federal income tax to use a filing ID number to obtain a license.

Related stories:

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Driver’s licenses for illegals challenged

Davis to ‘legalize’ illegal aliens today

Illegals to be legal behind the wheel

15 states license illegals to drive

Local governments harboring illegals?

Illegals 1 step closer to driver’s licenses

Congress takes up ID cards for illegals

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