Erika Bravo didn't realize how important a phone could be until she found herself snared in an abusive relationship years ago.

Her husband, she said, kept her isolated, locking her passport and other personal records in a file cabinet.

The Mexican immigrant used a prepaid cellphone to make calls he couldn't track -- reaching out to people who helped her escape.

"I couldn't make those calls from home because I had to hide from him," said Bravo, 29. "My phone was a secret."

Advocates fear women like her, the working poor, as well as undocumented immigrants would lose an important lifeline if a pending bill is approved in Suffolk County.

The bill, scheduled for a hearing Thursday before the county legislature's Public Safety Committee, would require prepaid cellphone purchasers to provide two forms of identification and have that information included in a registry that authorities could inspect.

The purpose is to prevent anonymous use of the phones by criminals and terrorists, said its proponent, Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley).

The prepaid phones are used by drug dealers and are often linked to crimes, Browning said.

"We just want them to be traceable," she said.

If the bill passes the committee, it would go Tuesday before the full legislature.

Civil liberties advocates say a vulnerable population relies on the phones. They're affordable and immigrants in the country illegally don't have to produce a photo ID to buy them.

"Our concern is that the immigrant community and the working poor are going to be the people impacted by this bill," said Jessica Glynn, supervising attorney for SEPA Mujer, a Central Islip group that helps Latinas. "The criminals they are targeting can simply drive over to the next county and get the phone."Advocacy group Latino Justice and the Suffolk County chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union also oppose the measure. "We are going to have a database filled with innocent people who are considered suspects just because they buy a prepaid cellphone," said Amol Sinha, NYCLU's Suffolk director.

Legislators on the Public Safety Committee said they will weigh input from law enforcement and the community.

"I am really torn at this point," said Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville). "We want to do something good, but we have to think about people who may not have the resources to get cellphone services."

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