Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law April 24 a bill that removes foreign passports from a list of “secure and verifiable” documents that government agencies could accept if they require identification for an official purpose.
Foreign passports still qualify on the list created by the state attorney general’s office, however, if they are accompanied by federal documents providing legal residence. The bill adds to the list U.S. birth certificates and certification of birth abroad issued by the U.S. State Department.
These provisions represent only a portion of the bill that aims to fix unintended consequences on the state’s legislation to crackdown on illegal immigration.
It also adds to a list of public benefits for which people living in the U.S. illegally are not eligible including the state drivers license, retirement benefits, and public and assisted housing.
Jerry Gonzalez, the executive director of the Georgia Association of Elected Officials, issued a critical response to the governor’s action, saying that it would make the state “less hospitable for foreign visitors, foreign investment and our ability to maintain a healthy workforce.”
In his response, he said that the legislation could “potentially” have the following consequences including blocking immigrants’ access to water and sewage services provided by local government as well as access to state and local buildings.
Immigrant parents, he said, also could be unable to enroll their children in schools that require a proof of identification, not have access to certain public benefits and not be able to obtain marriage licenses.