“Scarlet Letter”: Georgia Pursues Controversial ID Law Targeting Non-Citizens

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Trump's lies about voter fraud impact state laws

Georgia lawmakers are advancing bill through the state legislature that would place distinct markings on the driver’s licenses of non-citizens denoting their legal status. Other states have issued laws that require similiar measures for undocumented immigrants.

What makes the Georgia law unique? It would even target legal residents.

As Naomi Tsu from the Southern Poverty Law Center described it, the law would effectively brand “some residents with a ‘scarlet letter’.”

But as Alan Powell – a state legislator who sponsored the law – contends:  “I don’t care if you’re a regional vice-president for Mercedes, [your ID] at least ought to have on there ‘non-citizen’.”

This stigmatization has virtually no pragmatic effect. The imaginary specter of voter fraud – one of Trump’s tall claims that he has actually walked back for want of evidence – has been used by Republicans to pass all sorts of worthless laws, including those designed to make voting harder for demographics that do not traditionally support Republicans.

Meaninglessly targeting legal residents is not only a complete waste of time and resources, but it only heightens the divisiveness and tendency toward “otherization” that has been promoted by Trump and his cabal of conspiracists. Republicans, with little else to offer their constituents, continue to play up fears of foreigners rather that actually work on impactful policy. 

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