By Ann Morse
While many national reports paint immigration as polarizing, state legislators and county officials are finding common ground and testing solutions for immigration challenges.
With no significant federal legislation enacted since 1986 and 1990, it’s way past time for bringing the immigration system into the 21st century.
NCSL and the National Association of Counties (NACo) hosted a series of events Thursday in Washington, D.C., highlighting state concerns over immigration policy.
Senator Mo Denis (D-Nev.) described his experiences working across the aisle and around the country to understand the impact of immigration on states and to develop pragmatic solutions. He co-chairs NCSL’s Executive Committee Task Force on Immigration and the States. The bipartisan task force was created by NCSL leadership in 2005.
He was joined by Commissioner Bill Truex of Charlotte County, Fla., who chairs the Immigration Reform Task Force at NACo.
The day began with a "This Week in Immigration" podcast hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. Stay tuned for the release of the podcast (pictured above in a photo by NCSL intern Brielle Powers) to hear Denis and Truex discuss their views on how immigration affects states and counties and ideas for advancing immigration reform at the national level that meets the needs of local communities.
Next up were meetings with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs on recent policy changes that affect state and local government and to introduce the work of the immigration task forces at NCSL and NACo.
The day concluded at the House Judiciary Committee to discuss the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act that proposes to expand agricultural worker visas and contribute to the U.S. agricultural economy. NCSL and NACo aim to be part of the conversation as federal immigration reform takes shape and to help federal, state and local governments reach common ground.
Check out NCSL’s immigration research.
Ann Morse is federal affairs counsel for NCSL’s Immigrant Policy Project.