As the immigration debate gets underway in the Florida legislature, one lawmaker has taken to wearing his passport around his neck as he goes about his business, in an effort to show what life could be like if Florida passes an Arizona-style immigration law.

“I’ve been living in this country for 50 years,” says Rep. Luis Garcia, D-Miami, who was born in Cuba. “I’m more American than anything else.”

When he’s at home in his district, he says, he’s surrounded by people who look and talk like him. But when he travels north — because the legislature is in session, say, or to visit his colleague Leonard Bembry, D-Madison — his accent and appearance could be cause for “suspicion” under an Arizona-style law, he says. He could have to prove his right to be in the country or risk being detained.

So as he walks the halls of the Capitol, he’s wearing his “papers” on a lanyard, just in case.

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By the numbers: Foreign-born naturalized citizens eligible to vote in 2012

The number of foreign-born naturalized citizens U.S. citizens eligible to vote in November 2012 is important to Democrats and Republicans alike. According to data released Thursday by the Immigration Policy Center, South Carolina, where the next GOP primary will take place on Jan. 21, is home to at least 218,000 immigrants, 30 percent of whom are naturalized citizens. Florida, according to the data, is home to almost 3.8 million immigrants, and almost 49 percent are naturalized citizens.