The National Conference of State Legislatures has compiled a comprehensive list of immigrant-related legislation passed by states in 2007.
State efforts to legislate immigrant-related matters skyrocketed last year as at least 1562 pieces of legislation addressing immigrant-related concerns were introduced across the nation, representing an increase of almost three times more bills than in 2006 (570), according to the NCSL.
Of these bills, 240 became law in 46 states. Governors have vetoed 12. By comparison, in 2006, 84 new laws were enacted.
The new pieces of legislation, some friendly, some hostile, touch on numerous policy areas, including employment, health, identification, driver’s and other licenses, law enforcement, public benefits, and human trafficking.
With so many states developing their own ways of handling the various issues, however, this inconsistency is bound to create conflict and confusion, especially with our ever-mobile citizenry.
Immigration normally is left to the federal government to regulate rather than the states. In the wake of the failed comprehensive immigration reform package last year, however, states have taken matters into their own hands to the extent allowed by law. Which laws will stand up under judicial scrutiny remains to be seen. Arizona, though, so far has survived a challenge relating to its new law imposing sanctions on employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.
See also our previous story on this same issue: Summary of State Laws Reacting to Undocumented Immigrants.