By Christian Burks
With the introduction of The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 to Congress, immigration has once again returned to the forefront of national policy discussions.
As Congress grapples with how to best tackle immigration reform, NCSL, the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National League of Cities (NLC) and the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) partnered to brief hill staffers on state and local priorities in immigration reform.
In "Moving Forward with Immigration Reform: State and Local Priorities," NCSL, NACo, NLC, and USCM were represented by Commissioner Bill Truex from Charlotte County, Fla., Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Ariz., Trustee Sharmin Shahjahan of Hanover Park, Ill., and Washington Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos. The event was moderated by Mayor Jorge Elorza of Providence, R.I.
The bipartisan panel of state and local elected officials shared insights from their communities and their perspectives on many of the pressing issues in immigration reform, including:
- A pathway to citizenship: The proposed pathway to citizenship and DACA reform included in the U.S. Citizenship Act would have a dramatic impact not only on the approximately 11 million undocumented individuals in the U.S., but also on the communities they reside in.
- Border management: Border management policies, at both the northern and southern borders, have significant consequences on migration flows, international trade and commerce, the lives of border residents, and communities across the country with sizable immigrant populations.
- Immigrants in the workforce: Immigration policy and reform has a unique impact on states and localities with a high density of jobs in technology, agriculture, hospitality, and health occupations due to the substantial role of immigrants in these industries.
A recording of the briefing is below.
Christian Burks is an intern in NCSL's State-Federal Relations Division.