When the clock struck midnight last night signaling the end of the 2012 legislative session in Georgia, the state passed an important milestone.
“This is the first year in many years where no anti-immigrant measures passed in Georgia,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, director of the Immigrant Rights Project at the ACLU of Georgia.
But it might have been a very different story. Georgia was considering, and had quickly advanced, a bill that would have expanded the state’s ban on undocumented students entering public colleges and universities to the entire state network. It was to be Georgia’s update to its anti-immigrant law HB 87, which is currently being challenged in the courts alongside Arizona’s SB 1070.
Currently, undocumented students are barred from enrolling in the Georgia’s top five most competitive colleges.
SB 458, which also included a provision that would have made foreign passports an unacceptable form of idea, breezed the Senate and easily cleared a House panel, but died at the end of the session last night when it never made it to the House floor.
On Wednesday, Georgia state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, the author of the college ban provision, removed it from SB 458 because it was “stalling the bill,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The provision updating forms of acceptable ID was still in the bill, however. Immigrant rights advocates said these provisions were clearly designed to attack the rights of undocumented immigrants; if passed, it would have blocked undocumented immigrants from accessing basic utilities and even marriage licenses.
“Thankfully, [SB 458] died last night,” Shahshahani said.