ATLANTA — Georgia’s attorney general has added some forms of birth documentation to a list of documents government agencies in the state can accept for certain transactions.
Last year’s state law targeting illegal immigration tasked the attorney general with establishing the list by Aug. 1, 2011, and updating it annually. This year’s updated list was posted online Tuesday.
Added to the list were three documents issued by the U.S. State Department: certification of report of birth, certification of report of birth abroad and consular report of birth abroad. Also added was an original or certified copy of a birth certificate bearing an official seal and issued by a state, county, municipal authority or territory of the U.S.
No form of identification was removed from the list.
Some Republican state lawmakers this year tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation to amend the list issued last year by the attorney general to remove foreign passports.
The legislation said that to be considered “secure and verifiable,” foreign passports would have to be accompanied by federal immigration documentation proving someone is in the country legally. The attorney general left foreign passports on the list with no additional qualifications.
The law requires applicants for public benefits – including professional licenses and food stamps – to provide at least one state or federally issued “secure and verifiable” document.
The law’s supporters have said the requirement is meant to keep illegal immigrants from accessing benefits that should be reserved for U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
Government employees who administer public benefits can be punished for “acting in willful violation” of the law by knowingly accepting identification documents that are not on the list or that do not otherwise qualify. Violation is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 12 months and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.