[JURIST] The Idaho State Senate [official website] passed a bill in a 29-6 vote Monday that would block illegal immigrants from using most taxpayer-financed public assistance programs. S-1157 [text] would require that applicants eighteen years of age or older to show proof that they are lawfully present in the United States before receiving certain public benefits. Sen. Chuck Coiner, one of three Republicans who voted against the bill, criticized the bill's vague description of "public benefits," which he said left it open to racist exploitation. Though most public programs would require proof of a valid Social Security Number as well as a passport or driver's license, the bill makes exceptions for emergencies such as disaster relief and medical emergencies. It will now be put to vote before the Idaho House of Representatives. AP has more.
Illegal immigration [JURIST news archive] legislation is pending in several states. Earlier this month the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved a strict measure [JURIST report] to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining state identification, and requiring all state and local agencies to verify citizenship status of applicants before authorizing benefits. The Georgia State Senate passed a bill [JURIST report] in February requiring state residents to acquire a valid state driver's license and confirm they are legally present in the US before they can register their automobiles; that proposal accompanies the broader Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act [text] to deny illegal aliens many of the state's taxpayer-funded services.