Immigrant Policy Project

July 20, 2010 

2010 Immigration-Related Laws and Resolutions in the States (January-June 2010) 

With no federal immigration reform in the foreseeable future, state legislatures continue to step up to the plate to address the complex and challenging issue of immigration. In the first six months of 2010, every state in regular session considered laws related to immigrants or immigration. State legislators introduced 1,374 bills and resolutions in 46 states relating to immigrants and refugees. The number of bill introductions is comparable to the first half of 2009, when 50 states considered more than 1,400 bills and resolutions pertaining to immigrants. Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas are not in regular session in 2010.

As of June 30, 2010, 44 state legislatures passed 191 laws and adopted 128 resolutions. Five bills were vetoed, for a total of 314 enacted laws and resolutions, a 21 percent increase over 2009. An additional 10 bills were pending governor’s approval. For the same period in 2009, 44 states had enacted 144 laws and adopted 115 resolutions; 23 were pending governor’s approval and three bills were vetoed. Delaware and North Carolina have introduced bills but have yet to enact legislation.

Getting the most attention this year has been Arizona’s immigration enforcement laws (SB.1070 and HB.2162). Key provisions include: law enforcement must attempt to determine the immigration status of a person involved in a lawful stop, detention or arrest when the officer reasonably suspects the person is an illegal immigrant; state residents may sue state and local agencies for noncompliance; and failure to carry an alien registration document is now a state violation. More information on these Arizona laws can be found under the omnibus category, and online.

As of June 30, bills similar to Arizona’s had been introduced in five state legislatures:  South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Michigan.  Minnesota and South Carolina legislative sessions have ended.

State laws related to immigration have increased dramatically in recent years:

  • In 2005, 300 bills were introduced; 38 laws were enacted and 6 vetoed.
  • In 2006, 570 bills were introduced, 84 laws were enacted and 12 resolutions adopted.
  • In 2007, 1,562 bills were introduced, 240 laws were enacted and 50 resolutions adopted.
  • In 2008, 1,305 bills were introduced, 206 laws were enacted and 64 resolutions adopted.
  • In 2009, more than 1,500 bills were introduced, 222 laws were enacted and 131 resolutions adopted. 

Summaries of all enacted laws and resolutions are available online sorted alphabetically by state and by category at www.ncsl.org/programs/immig.   

 

Methodology  

This report summarizes laws and resolutions enacted between January 1 and June 30, 2010. Please note: Beginning in 2010, budget bills have been removed from the miscellaneous category, while legal services bills have been combined with law enforcement bills.

Legislative proposals included in this overview address legal immigrants, migrant and seasonal workers, refugees or unauthorized immigrants. Terms used in this report 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.
 

2010 Immigrations and the States Map

Enacted Laws in 2009 v. 2010
 

 

January-June 2009

January-June 2009

January-June 2010

January-June 2010

Main Topics

Number of Laws Enacted

Number of States

Number of Laws Enacted

Number of States

Budgets

-

-

41

26

Education

15

8

13

10

Employment

10

7

27

20

Health

23

12

15

12

Human Trafficking

7

6

7

7

ID/Driver's Licenses and Other Licenses

34

24

23

16

Law Enforcement

13

8

33

17

Legal Services

1

1

-

-

Miscellaneous

28

19

22

16

Omnibus/Multi-Issue Measures

2

2

2

1

Public Benefits

12

11

3

3

Voting

3

3

5

2

Total

144

46

191

43

Resolutions

115

27

128

26

 

 

 

Total laws and resolutions

262

46

319

44

 

Vetoed

3

3

5

4

 

Total enacted

259

 

314 

Please note: These figures reflect laws that have passed out of legislatures, but do not include those still pending a Governor’s signature. Beginning in April 2009, budget laws were removed from the miscellaneous category, while legal services laws have been combined with law enforcement. 

Source: NCSL, Immigrant Policy Project, 2010. 

The full report of state laws is available online at by state and by category. The brief summary below describes the categories and provides examples of laws enacted in 2010.

BUDGET (41)

Forty-one budget laws were enacted in 26 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Washington. One additional law is pending governor’s approval in Illinois.

These laws typically appropriate funds for refugee resettlement programs, migrant health or education, law enforcement, or naturalization assistance programs. (Note this new category, beginning in 2010, was formerly included in the miscellaneous category.)

Example: Iowa H.2522 appropriates state funds for workforce and economic development and mandates the department to make every effort to maintain new Iowans centers offering one stop services dealing with the multiple issues related to immigration and employment.

EDUCATION (13)

Thirteen laws were enacted in 10 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington and West Virginia. One additional law is pending governor’s approval in Illinois.

These laws generally address in-state tuition eligibility, financial assistance, and English language acquisition and access. Some laws seek to disaggregate educational data for immigrants, migrants or certain ethnic groups or target at-risk groups including migrants or immigrants.

Example: California A.2026 requires agencies administering tests for purposes of postsecondary education to accept the Mexican consular matriculation of high security as valid identification for admitting a test subject to take a standardized test.

EMPLOYMENT (27)

Twenty-seven laws were enacted in 20 states: Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. One additional law is pending governor’s approval in Illinois.

Many of these laws provide for employer sanctions related to the hiring of unauthorized workers, employment eligibility verification requirements and penalties. These laws also include measures on unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation. 

Example: Hawaii H.2897 subjects a construction contractor to revocation or suspension of his or her license for knowingly or intentionally employing a person who is not eligible to work in the United States under federal law to perform work on any project or operation.

HEALTH (15)

Fifteen laws were enacted in 12 states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma and Tennessee. One additional law is pending governor’s approval in Illinois. These laws generally address eligibility for health care benefits and the licensing of health care professionals and interpreters.

Example: Tennessee S.3092 requires the Board of Medical Examiners to enter into an agreement with the federal Department of Homeland Security concerning participation in the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program, for the purpose of enforcing federal immigration laws which relate to the licensure of foreign physicians in Tennessee.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING (7)

Seven laws were enacted in 7 states: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah and Vermont.

These laws add definitions relating to human trafficking, human smuggling and forced labor, create new state penalties and offer assistance to victims.

Example: Oklahoma S.2258, “The Greater Protecting Victims of Human Trafficking Act of 2010” declares it unlawful for any person to knowingly shelter, harbor, conceal, transport, move, or attempt to transport to any person unlawfully present in the United States. The law prohibits the destruction of documentation papers to extend an individual's legal status for the purposes of human trafficking. The law also provides support for victims of human trafficking including mandates on providing shelter, medical assistance, food and legal assistance for victims as needed.

ID / DRIVER’S LICENSES AND OTHER LICENSES (23)

Twenty-three laws were enacted in 16 states: Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah. Two additional laws are pending governor’s approval in Illinois and New Hampshire.

These laws relate to documentation and eligibility requirements for IDs and driver’s licenses, professional licenses, and firearm and hunting/fishing licenses.

Example: South Dakota H.1079 revises certain provisions relating to the issuance of a new birth certificate in certain adoptions, including the adoption of a child born in a foreign country. In order to issue a new birth certificate, the law requires, among other documents, proof of the child's IR-3 immigration status.

LAW ENFORCEMENT (33)

Thirteen laws were enacted in 17 states: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming. Two additional laws are pending governor’s approval in Illinois.

These laws generally deal with collaboration with federal law enforcement agencies, immigrant detention processes, bail determinations and law enforcement officer responsibilities.

Example: Georgia S.136 requires the Georgia Department of Corrections and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to participate in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Rapid Removal of Eligible Parolees Accepted for Transfer (REPAT) Program or a similar federal program.

MISCELLANEOUS (22)

Twenty-two laws were enacted in 16 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

These laws provide for immigration-related commissions and studies, and technical corrections to names of immigration agencies or offices. This section no longer includes budget and appropriation laws referring to non-citizens.

Example: Washington S.6726 defines language access providers and permits collective bargaining with the governor. The governor vetoed a provision establishing a working group on language access services.

OMNIBUS / MULTI-ISSUE LEGISLATION (2)

Two laws (SB.1070 and HB.2162) were enacted in Arizona. SB.1070, enacted on April 23, was amended a week later by HB.2162. 

Key provisions of Arizona’s laws include: law enforcement must reasonably attempt to determine the immigration status of a person involved in a lawful stop, detention or arrest in the enforcement of any other local or state law or ordinance where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present, except if it may hinder or obstruct an investigation; state residents may sue state and local agencies for noncompliance; a state violation is established for failure to carry an alien registration document; state crimes are established for trespassing by illegal aliens, stopping to hire or soliciting work under specified circumstances, and transporting, harboring or concealing unlawful aliens. More information on these Arizona laws can be found at here.

PUBLIC BENEFITS (3)

Three laws were enacted in three states: Colorado, Minnesota, and Washington. Two additional laws are pending governor’s approval in Illinois and Massachusetts.

These laws typically relate to individuals and their eligibility to receive public benefits, such as requiring proof of lawful presence in the United States before receiving certain public benefits. Some require state agencies to use certain eligibility verification systems or to deny public benefits to unauthorized immigrants. Some make funds available for certain immigrants and refugees.

Example: Massachusetts H.4568 creates the Massachusetts Food Policy Council to develop recommendations to advance food system goals of increased production of state-produced food, to bring healthy food to state residents, to protect land and water resources for sustained food production, and train, retain and recruit farmers. The Council's advisory committee should include a variety of representatives, including an organization engaged in developing new farm businesses, urban and community supported agriculture, community gardening, immigrant and refugee farming or youth education.

VOTING (5)

Five laws were enacted in 2 states: Alaska and Utah.    

Bills address regulations regarding voter registration, including verification of citizenship. These proposals also pertain to the ability of immigrants to vote for public office and donate to campaigns.

Example: Utah S.53 defines the circumstances under which someone can challenge the validity of a person's right to vote including claims the person is not a citizen of the United States.

RESOLUTIONS (128)

One hundred twenty-eight resolutions and memorials were adopted in 26 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. 

Most of these resolutions and memorials celebrate America's ethnic heritage and others applaud programs or individuals that serve refugees or immigrants. Eleven of the resolutions urge Congress to: fund E-Verify, reimburse states for emergency health, enact comprehensive immigration reform, enact the International Violence Against Women Act, secure borders, fund services for migrants, pass Filipino family reunification, address refugees in Darfur and Chad, and provide Haitians with temporary protected status.

Example: Pennsylvania H.R.546 honors the Lost Boys of Sudan, many of whom were granted permission to immigrate to the United States where they have obtained jobs and education and have become productive members of American society. They are honored for their tireless courage and pioneering efforts in raising awareness and working toward ending 21st century slavery in their homeland of Sudan and around the world.

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Prepared by:

Jennifer Bailey, Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow, NCSL Immigrant Policy Project  
Erin Fitzgerald, Summer Fellow, Immigrant Policy Project, NCSL

Edited by:

Ann Morse, Program Director, Immigrant Policy Project, NCSL

Reviewers:
Sheri Steisel, Federal Affairs Counsel, NCSL
Molly Ramdsell, Director, Washington Office, NCSL
Neal Osten, Director, Washington Office, NCSL

This report was made possible (in part) by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of NCSL.