2010 Immigration-Related Bills and Resolutions in the States
With federal immigration reform stalled in Congress, state legislatures continue to tackle immigration issues at an unprecedented rate. In the first quarter of this year, state legislators in 45 states had introduced 1,180 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees. The number of bills introduced this year so far is more than the first quarter of 2009, when 50 states considered 1,040 bills and resolutions. As of March 31, 2010, 34 state legislatures had passed 71 laws and adopted 87 resolutions; 37 bills were pending signatures on governors’ desks. In the first quarter of 2009, 25 states passed 35 laws and adopted 40 resolutions. (Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas are not in regular session in 2010, and North Carolina’s legislative session began in May.)
Getting the most attention this year has been Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law (SB 1070). It was passed by the Legislature on April 19, 2010, and signed by the governor on April 23. The law:
- Requires law enforcement to reasonably attempt to determine immigration status where reasonable suspicion of unlawful presence exists;
- Allows state residents to sue state and local agencies for noncompliance;
- Creates a state violation for failure to carry an alien registration document;
- Establishes crimes and penalties for trespassing by illegal aliens, stopping to hire or soliciting work under specified circumstances, and transporting, harboring or concealing unlawful aliens.
More information on Arizona's law can be found at http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=20263. (AZ SB1070 is counted in the total number of bill introductions but because it was enacted after March 31, it is not counted in the toal number of enacted bills for this report.)
As in past years, education, employment, identification/drivers' licenses, and law enforcement remained top areas of interest. For example, Washington’s new law will encourage high school graduation through collaborative partnerships for vulnerable youth, including recent immigrants. Utah, Virginia and West Virginia now require public and private employers to use the federal E-Verify system. Mississippi defined requirements for issuing or renewing a noncitizen's driver's license. Alabama enacted a law regarding child abduction that allows a court to consider the flight risk of the parent if he or she has a strong familial, financial, emotional or cultural tie to a another country.
The number of resolutions introduced in state legislatures more than doubled from the same time period last year, from 91 to 188. For example, New Mexico asked Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform that includes ensuring efficient border security, the reunification of immigrant families, a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, and a legal means for temporary workers to enter the United States.
State laws related to immigration have increased dramatically in recent years:
- In 2006, 570 bills were introduced, 84 laws were enacted and 12 resolutions adopted.
- In 2007, 1,562 bills were introduced, 240 laws were enacted and 50 resolutions adopted.
- In 2008, 1,305 bills were introduced, 206 laws were enacted and 64 resolutions adopted.
- In 2009, more than 1,500 bills were introduced, 222 laws were enacted and 131 resolutions adopted.
This report provides a look at legislation introduced so far in 2010 and presents selected examples of enacted laws and adopted resolutions. Please note: Beginning with this report, budget bills will be removed from the miscellaneous category, while legal services bills will be combined with law enforcement bills. The NCSL report to be released in July will identify and summarize in detail all enacted legislation from January through June.
Legislative proposals included in this overview address legal immigrants, migrant and seasonal workers, refugees or unauthorized immigrants. Terms used in this report by and large reflect the terms used in state legislation. In some state legislative language, unauthorized immigrants are also described as illegal or undocumented immigrants or aliens.
Proposed State Immigration Legislation, by Policy Arena
As of March 31, 2010
Source: NCSL, Immigrant Policy Project, 2010
Twenty-five state legislatures introduced 73 bills: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
These bills include budget and appropriation provisions affecting immigrants, refugees, and migrant and seasonal workers. (Please note: budget bills were previously included in the Miscellaneous category.)
Arkansas H 1038
This law allocates $12,000 in funding for the Arkansas Refugee Resettlement Program.
Twenty-nine legislatures introduced 106 bills: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
These bills generally address students’ lawful residency requirements with respect to scholarships, postsecondary education benefits, and admission to education institutions. Some laws also address early childhood education, after-school programs, and limited English proficiency issues.
Idaho S 1367
This law amends existing law relating to public institutions of higher education to provide resident student status for admittance to certain veterans, active duty military, and their dependents. A person who is not a citizen of the United States, who does not have permanent or temporary resident status or does not hold “refugee parolee" or "conditional entrant" status does not qualify for resident student status.
Utah H 114
This law requires higher education institutions to disclose to the state Board of Regents any gifts of $50,000 or more received from a foreign person.
Washington H 2913
This law authorizes the creation of inter-district cooperative high school programs designed to provide interdisciplinary curriculum and instruction themes through online, direct classroom instruction at multiple and varying locations, and other mechanisms to maximize access for geographically dispersed students, including migrant students.
Washington S 6403
This law seeks to improve high school graduation rates through development of a collaborative infrastructure of state and local education agencies that serve vulnerable youth, including recent immigrants, who are at-risk for school failure.
Washington S 6467
This law authorizes the granting of honorary degrees for students at public institutions of higher education who were ordered into internment camps in 1942 and as a result did not graduate. The honorary degree may also be requested by representatives of deceased people who meet the requirements.
Thirty-six legislatures introduced 173 bills: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Bills address employment verification issues, including the federal electronic employment eligibility verification system E-Verify, immigrant eligibility for unemployment compensation, and foreign worker visas.
Iowa S 2181
This law grants authority to the Division of Labor Services of the Department of Workforce Development to establish guidelines, as needed, to bring Iowa occupational safety and health standards into compliance with federal standards. The law also includes a provision on migrant labor that requires every person, firm or corporation employing migrant laborers to obtain and keep on file a work permit for migrant laborers prior to their employment.
Utah S 251
This law requires employers in Utah to verify the legal status of their employees via a federally approved employment verification system.
Virginia H 737
This law requires state agencies of the Commonwealth to enroll in the E-Verify Program by December 1, 2012, and to use the program for each newly hired employee who will work in Virginia.
West Virginia H 3301
This law requires employers in the state to verify the legal status of their employees. It sets penalties for employers who knowingly employ unauthorized workers including penalties that increase with successive violations up to the permanent revocation of business licenses.
Twenty-seven legislatures introduced 76 bills: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
These bills address eligibility requirements of immigrants and immigrant children for health programs and services and licensing requirements for foreign-educated health professionals.
Idaho H 470
This law requires that foreign-educated physical therapists provide proof of passing scores on standardized English proficiency examinations as a qualification for licensure.
Minnesota S 460
This law revises and adds provisions regarding general assistance medical care to include mental health care and consultation. Under this law, undocumented noncitizens and immigrants are ineligible for general assistance medical care.
Mississippi S 3004
This law modernizes the terminology used for people with intellectual disabilities. The law also expands the maximum amount of TANF benefits available to families with children who have intellectual disabilities. These provisions exclude immigrant families who do not otherwise qualify for TANF.
Twelve legislatures introduced 22 bills: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Washington.
These bills increase penalties for extortion, coercion, human smuggling, sex trafficking and human trafficking. Some bills require services to protect victims of human trafficking.
Utah H 230
This law defines human trafficking for forced sexual exploitation as a second degree felony and human smuggling for profit as a third degree felony in the state of Utah.
Washington S 6332
This law requires international labor recruiters and domestic employers of foreign workers to disclose federal and state labor laws to foreign workers, including information on the minimum wage and occupation safety and health laws. The law also requires employers to provide information to workers on available services for human trafficking victims.
IDENTIFICATION, DRIVER'S LICENSES AND OTHER LICENSES
Thirty-two legislatures introduced 156 bills: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
These bills predominantly deal with lawful immigration status or citizenship requirements for driver’s licenses and other state issued licenses. State awarded licenses referenced include professional licenses, firearm licenses, and hunting and retail licenses. Several bills require that all tests for driver’s licenses be administered in English.
Idaho H 444
This law revises requirements for a license to carry concealed weapons and requires that the application for these licenses include place of birth and citizenship.
Mississippi H 930
This law defines the requirements for issuing or renewing a noncitizen's driver's license or state identification card.
South Dakota H 1107
This law provides for renewal of certain nonresident commercial driver’s licenses, requires evidence of legal presence in the United States upon renewal of nonresident commercial driver‘s license, and allows the Department of Transportation to renew a nonresident commercial driver’s license without a skills or knowledge test if the license has been expired for less than one year.
Thirty-three legislatures introduced 136 bills: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
These bills address bail, parole, no-plea bargains and other court proceedings with respect to immigrants, including release and deportation requirements. Some bills pertain to the services that a notary can perform for an immigrant. These bills also address cooperative agreements (the 287(g) program) in which states can enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to enforce federal immigration laws. Several bills also address the role of municipal governments in immigration enforcement. (Please note: Legal services bills are now included in this category.)
Alabama H 213
This law creates a Uniform Child Abduction Prevention act designed to clarify procedures for a parent or guardian and for a court to follow to prevent a child abduction. Factors that can be considered by the court to determine risk of abduction include a lack of strong familial, financial, emotional or cultural ties to the state or the United States; strong familial, financial, emotional or cultural ties to another state or country; a likelihood of taking the child to a country that is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It does not provide for the extradition of an abducting parent or for the return of an abducted child.
Oklahoma H 2837
This law requires any immigrant unlawfully present under federal immigration law to submit to DNA testing for law enforcement identification purposes upon arrest.
Thirty-four legislatures introduced 173 bills: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
These bills deal with a variety of issues, such as task forces and reports related to immigrants, language issues, family law, local governments and tenancy regulations.
Nebraska L 139
This law renames the Commission on Mexican-Americans to the Commission on Latino-Americans.
Ten legislatures introduced 14 bills: Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Washington.
These bills address multiple immigration-related topics within one bill, such as employment, law enforcement and public benefits. They often include provisions regarding employer sanctions for hiring unauthorized workers; the use of federal employment eligibility verification systems; cooperation with the federal government on the enforcement of federal immigration laws; prohibitions on harboring or transporting unauthorized immigrants; and verification of citizenship/immigration status with respect to public benefits eligibility.
Eighteen legislatures introduced 39 bills: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
These bills relate to individuals and their eligibility to receive public benefits, such as requiring proof of lawful presence in the United States before receiving certain public benefits. Some bills would require state agencies to use certain eligibility verification systems or to deny public benefits to unauthorized immigrants. Several bills would also make funds available for certain immigrants and refugees.
Washington H 2782
This law reorganizes delivery of services to recipients of public assistance, requires certain agencies to work on the expansion of the food stamp employment and training program, and establishes the disability lifeline program, with strategies to improve the employment and basic support of people in the program. It requires that people receiving disability benefits be legal residents of the United States.
Twelve legislatures introduced 24 bills: Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.
These bills address voter registration, including verification of citizenship. Proposals also pertain to the ability of immigrants to vote and to be elected to public office.
Utah H 254
This law defines which forms of personal identification are valid for voter identification. Valid forms of identification include certified naturalization documentation.
Utah S 18
This law relates to election laws. It creates provisions for the deadline for filing declarations of candidacy, requires the consent of the Senate for the governor to appoint a lieutenant governor, and clarifies the type of identification that can be used on a voter registration form. The law requires two forms of voter identification, including naturalization documentation, to confirm a voter resides in the voting precinct.
Utah S 53
This law defines the circumstances under which someone can challenge the validity of a person’s right to vote, including claims the person is not a citizen of the United States.
Thirty-one legislatures introduced 188 resolutions: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
These resolutions and memorials declare the intent of the chamber or the full state legislature regarding a specific immigration issue. Several resolutions request action from the federal government regarding reform of the U.S. immigration system; others honor the achievements and contributions of ethnic groups, organizations and individuals.
Alabama SJR 31
This joint resolution urges Congress to continue funding the E-verify program.
New Jersey SR 23
This resolution urges Congress to enact the Haitian Protection Act of 2009 to grant qualifying Haitian nationals in the United States temporary protected status.
New Mexico HM 60
This House Memorial urges Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation that ensures efficient border security, the reunification of immigrant families, a path to citizenship for undocumented workers currently in the United States, a legal means of immigration for foreign nationals who want to work in the United States temporarily and for those who desire to become legal permanent residents or citizens, and provides resources for cities.Prepared by:
Jennifer Bailey, Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow, NCSL Immigrant Policy Project
Ann Morse, Program Director, Immigrant Policy Project, NCSL
Sheri Steisel, Senior Federal Affairs Counsel, NCSL
Michael Bird, Senior Federal Affairs Counsel, NCSL
This report was made possible (in part) by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of NCSL.
Revised May 6, 2010