Georgia's Republican-controlled state legislature has passed a bill that would prohibit the use of foreign passports as identification, a measure that some organizations say could leave many immigrants without access to basic services.
While the rest of the country is focused on a "common-sense" immigration-law overhaul, "Georgia is still trying to set up barricades for many possible future citizens who live and work in the state," Azadeh Shahshahani, director of the National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, told Efe Friday.
Senate Bill 160, which was passed Thursday by the state legislature, is similar to another pending bill - HB 125 - that had several of its toughest measures - including ones preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining driver's licenses and homestead exemptions - stripped out by a Senate committee.
Those measures were inserted into SB 160 by a House committee.
If signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal, the legislation would prevent people with no other identity document from accessing public services such as water and sewage or filing for a marriage license.
Many undocumented migrants in Georgia have no "secure and verifiable" identification other than their passport, since the state does not recognize the "matricula consular" - the Mexican consular ID card - or other foreign-issued documents.
"We're going to follow the implementation of this legislation closely to make sure that immigrants are not affected," Shahshahani said.
Other organizations such as the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, meanwhile, on Friday called on the state's residents to contact Gov. Deal and urge him to veto the legislation.