State Laws Related to Immigration and Immigrants

State Laws Related to Immigration and Immigrants


US mapNCSL tracks and reports on state laws and resolutions that address legal immigrants, migrant and seasonal workers, refugees and unauthorized immigrants. The July report identifies and summarizes all enacted legislation from January-June. The year-end report identifies and summarizes all laws and resolutions enacted, and highlights examples of new laws or trends. (Terms used in these reports 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.)

2014 Year-End Report

Lawmakers in statehouses across the United States approved 171 immigration-related laws in 2014,representing a 7.5 percent decline since 2013, according to a new report issued by NCSL.  Jan. 7, 2015. NCSL Press Release.

2013 Year-End Report

State immigration legislation in 2013 seemed to shift in response to new federal policy to defer deportation for young unauthorized immigrants and the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Arizona SB1070.  Lawmakers in 45 states and the District of Columbia enacted 184 laws and 253 resolutions related to immigration, for a total of 437, an increase of 64 percent from the 267 laws and resolutions enacted in 2012. Jan. 21, 2013.


2012 Report  | January-December

While state legislatures seemed to hit the pause button on immigration in 2012, it was still a hot topic, with nearly 1,000 bill introductions and 156 laws enacted. State lawmakers pointed to other issues pushing immigration to the back burner, notably budget deficits, redistricting and pending litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court on Arizona’s immigration enforcement law. State legislators introduced 983 bills and resolutions in 46 state legislatures, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, a decline of 39 percent compared to the 1,607 bills introduced in 2011.

Audio: Immigration and the States

State Omnibus Immigration Laws and Lawsuits | Revised Dec. 23, 2011

Since omnibus immigration enforcement laws were enacted in Arizona early in 2010 (and subsequently enjoined after a federal challenge), five additional states have enacted similar laws:  Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah in 2011.  Lawsuits were filed in each state.  The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion for injunction of Alabama's law, HB56, on August 1; on South Carolina's immigration law, S.20, on October 31; and of Utah's HB497 on November 22. On Dec. 12, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review Arizona v. U.S.  On Dec. 22, parts of South Carolina's law were enjoined. 

Arizona's Immigration Enforcement Laws | Revised July 28, 2011

SB 1070 and HB 2162, enacted in April 2010, relate to immigration law enforcement by adding state penalties for trespassing, harboring and transporting illegal immigrants, not carrying alien registration documents, employing illegal immigrants, and smuggling humans.


Immigration Database

Previous Immigrant Policy Project Reports

Additional Resources

Share this: 
We are the nation's most respected bipartisan organization providing states support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.

NCSL Member Toolbox


7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800


444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069

Copyright 2015 by National Conference of State Legislatures