By Julie Lays
“Things will be changing.”
That’s how Senator Craig Tieszen (R) from South Dakota described his thoughts on federal immigration policy after last year’s election. Tieszen moderated a panel discussion at the Legislative Summit in Boston to update attendees on federal immigration law.
Tieszen’s prediction was spot on. President Donald Trump began his quest to change business-as-usual in regards to immigration policy on Jan. 25 when he signed a couple of executive orders to fortify border security by instituting travel bans, building the border wall, hiring thousands of additional immigration officers and withholding funding from sanctuary cities not in compliance with U.S. immigration law.
Professor Peter Margulies of Roger Williams University and Mississippi Representative Tommy Reynolds (D) were the panelists. Margulies gave an overview of the refugee ban and where it’s at currently. Reynolds gave a little biblical history lesson on the concept of “sanctuary” and discussed various nuances these laws can take.
The audience really lit up when allowed to ask their specific questions. Obviously, there are a lot of questions and concerns about what’s ahead for immigration policy. NCSL has formed a task force on immigration that will be tackling some of the more divisive and controversial elements.
Ann Morse from NCSL announced that a new publication on state immigration laws that passed this year (from the 11,000 or so introduced) was recently completed and is available online. In addition, an article on immigration is coming soon in State Legislatures magazine. NCSL resources on immigration can be found at www.ncsl.org/research/immigration.
Julie Lays is editor of State Legislatures magazine.