Immigration Reform and State Trends

Immigration Reform and State Trends

By Ann Morse and Gilberto Soria Mendoza| Vol . 22, No. 4 / January 2014


The U.S. Constitution, in Article I, grants primacy over immigration policy to the federal government. States, however, are responsible for policies related to immigrants after they enter the United States. State legislatures have been testing “immigration federalism,” partly to assuage public concerns about immigration and partly to prod congressional action.

States have long been partners in immigration: through refugee resettlement programs; in health, education and other immigrant integration policies; and through voluntary agreements with the federal government to address crime. The number of state immigration laws has steadily increased; since 2007, on average, 1,300 bills are introduced and 200 laws are passed each year.

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