The South Carolina House has approved a bill requiring law enforcement to try to check the status of people they suspect are in the country illegally.
The House voted 69-43 on Tuesday for the key second reading. The measure requires another perfunctory vote before returning to the Senate, which passed a different version.
Republicans who control both the House and Senate have called the bill a top priority for the year.
The bill specifies that the check must follow a stop or arrest for something else. Unlike a law passed in Arizona last year, it says people can't be held on the suspicion. Instead, they must be processed normally if authorities don't respond.
Opponents argued it flies in the face of American freedoms and encourages racial profiling.