SARASOTA, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — Protesters are calling for Florida to allow immigrants who are in the United States illegally be allowed to have driver’s licenses.

Demonstrators with Living with Angels held signs along U.S. 41 in Sarasota on Saturday calling for state officials to change the law.

“Not a lot of people in Florida are legal, so if you’re not legal you can’t have a driver’s license,” Paula Rincon told WTVT-TV.

Last year, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have let children of illegal immigrants be allowed to get driver’s licenses.

Living with Angels believes roads will be safer giving immigrants in the country illegally licenses.

“If you’re driving without a driver’s license and you crash into somebody, some people are going to just hit and run,” Rincon told WTVT.

Demonstrators also believe giving immigrants licenses will help the state’s economy.

“The insurance companies can sell insurance,” Humberto Iberico told WTVT. “More care payments for all the companies. More sales for all the companies.”

Local immigrant advocates and officials say Florida could play a key role in handling the influx of unaccompanied Central American youth crossing the U.S. border.

Miami U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia told The Associated Press that Florida has long welcomed immigrants fleeing natural and political upheaval in their home countries. He noted the thousands of youth sent to Miami during the 1960s on the so-called Pedro Pan flights to escape Cuba’s communist government, and the Haitians and other Central Americans fleeing war and earthquakes who were allowed to make Florida home.

Local advocates say they have been sounding warnings for months about the arriving youth, especially in Central Florida.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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