2006 State Legislation Related to Immigration: Enacted and Vetoed
October 31, 2006
In 2006, 570 pieces of legislation concerning immigrants have been introduced in state legislatures around the country. At least 90 bills and resolutions passes the legislatures in 2006. 84 bills were signed into law, more than double the amount of 2005. 6 bills were vetoed. While legislation covered a wide variety of topics, many states focused on education, employment, identification and driver’s licenses, law enforcement, legal services, public benefits, trafficking, and voting procedures.
Bills were enacted in 32 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
Nebraska LB 239 (signed 4/14/2006) allows unauthorized immigrant students to qualify for in-state tuition (section 1).
Virginia SB 542 (signed 4/6/2006) establishes eligibility for in-state tuition for those holding an immigration visa or classified as a political refugee in the same manner as any other resident student. Students with temporary or student visa status are ineligible for Virginia resident status and in-state tuition (section C).
Wyoming SB 85 (signed 3/10/2006) provides scholarships to Wyoming students to attend community colleges and the University of Wyoming. The bill bars non-citizens and non-Legal Permanent Residents from receiving scholarship funding in this bill. Students whose parents have claimed foreign residency status during the student’s high school attendance are also ineligible (section W.S. 21-16-1303).
Colorado HB 1343 (signed 6/6/2006) prohibits state agencies from entering into contract agreements with contractors who knowingly employ illegal immigrants and requires prospective contractors to verify legal work status of all employees. The contractor must confirm that the Basic Pilot Program has been used to verify the status of all employees. If the contractor discovers that an illegal alien is employed, the contractor must alert the state agency within 3 days (section 1).
Colorado HB 1001 (signed 7/31/2006) requires that contractors verify the work status of their employees before applying for economic development incentive awards. Contractors receiving awards and later found to employ unauthorized workers must repay the award and will be ineligible for another award for 5 years (section 1).
Colorado HB 1009 (signed 7/31/2006) mandates that licenses, permits, registration, certificates be issued only to lawfully present persons, and mandates removal of authorization if the applicant is found to be unlawfully present (sections 1-3).
Colorado HB 1015 (signed 7/31/2006) mandates employers to withhold 4.63% from the wages of an employee without a validated Social Security number, a validated taxpayer ID number or an IRS-issued taxpayer ID for non-resident aliens (section 2).
Colorado HB 1017 (signed 7/31/2006) requires that employers examine the work status of each new employee within 20 days of hire and retain proof that employees have legal work status. The state has the power to audit and verify the proof. Employers hiring unauthorized workers face a penalty of $5,000 for the first offense of showing “reckless disregard” in submitting requested documents or for submitting falsified documents (section 1).
Idaho HB 577 (signed 3/11/2006) limits unemployment benefits to U.S. citizens and legal residents only (section 2).
Idaho HB 649 (signed 3/24/2006) prohibits balance billing when administering worker’s compensation benefits. Benefits are available only to citizens and authorized immigrants. (“Balance billing" means billing or otherwise attempting to collect directly from an injured employee payment for medical services in excess of amounts allowable in compensable claims).
Kansas HB 2157 (signed 3/23/2006) limits unemployment benefits and employment protection status to citizens and those with legal immigration status. Immigrants who were admitted into the United States legally and completed work during this time period are also eligible for benefits for that specific time period only (section 1:4:C:m).
Louisiana SB 753 (signed 6/23/2006) allows any state agency or department to conduct an investigation of a contractor’s hiring policies if the employment of unauthorized immigrants is suspected. The district attorney can issue an order to fire undocumented workers, and, if the contractor does not comply within 10 days of receiving notice, the contractor is subject to penalties of up to $10,000. This applies only to contractors employing more than 10 people (section 1).
New York SB 6504 (signed 8/16/2006) extends the waiver of the citizenship requirement for obtaining a veterinary license until 2009.
Pennsylvania HB 2319 (signed 5/11/2006) is known as the Prohibition of Illegal Alien Labor on Assisted Project Act. The bill defines an illegal alien as one who violates federal immigration laws yet is a paid employee within the state. This bill prohibits the use of labor by illegal immigrants on projects financed by grants or loans from the state government. Appropriate federal authorities should be contacted in the event a contractor knowingly employs illegal aliens and continues to accept a state contract (section 3).
Tennessee HB 111 (enrolled 6/1/2006) prohibits contractors from contracting with state agencies within one year of the discovery that the contractor employs illegal immigrants (section 1).
Washington SB 6885 (signed 3/9/2006) excludes labor performed by nonresident aliens from the definition of “employment” when establishing unemployment insurance benefits (section 22).
Washington SB 6194 (signed 3/27/2006) acknowledges that men and women of color suffer significant inequities in almost all aspects of daily life. To address this issue, this bill mandates multicultural education for health professionals in order to increase understanding of the relationship between culture and health (section 1).
Colorado SB 110 (signed 5/30/2006) concerns the fabrication of fraudulent documents for legal status and identification purposes. This bill provides funding for a full-time investigator position in the attorney general’s office, and implements a $50,000 civil fine for counterfeiting identification documents (section 1).
Colorado HB 1306 (signed 5/30/2006) requires an audit of a 2003 law restricting the use of foreign identification papers, including consulate identification cards. The report would, among other things, determine if a birth certificate issued outside of Colorado should qualify as a verifiable document (section 1).
Florida HB 7079 (signed 6/22/2006) requires proof of legal immigrant status or proof of pending adjustment to legal immigrant status of driver’s license applicants (section 322.08).
Maine LD 501 (signed 2/10/2006) forbids the acceptance of the following expired documents as identification for state driver’s licenses: expired visas issued by the United States, expired documents issued by foreign countries, and foreign passports with an elapsed departure date.
Missouri SB 1001 (signed 6/14/2006) states that a learner's permit, driver's license, or renewal license may not be extended to a person not lawfully residing in the state (section 302.171.1).
South Carolina HB 3085 (signed 6/12/2006) mandates that an individual is guilty of fraud if another person’s personal information, such as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, checking and savings account numbers, and credit and debit card numbers, is used for the purposes of gaining employment (section 16).
Colorado SB 90 (signed 5/1/2006) prohibits any state or local government from enacting legislation that impedes law enforcement agencies from cooperating or communicating with federal officials concerning an arrestee who is suspected to be illegally present in the U.S. (section 1). Police officers are required to report any suspected illegal immigrant arrestees to ICE, although this does not apply to persons arrested for a suspected act of domestic violence until a conviction has been reached. The act also declares that state and local law enforcement officials should actively pursue any and all federal monies available that reimburse states for enforcing federal immigration laws. Any local government that does not subscribe to this act will not be eligible for state grants (section 2).
Colorado HB 1014 (signed 7/31/2006) instructs the state attorney general to pursue reimbursement from the federal government for all costs associated with illegal immigration, including incarceration, education, and healthcare (section 1).
Illinois SB 2962 (signed 7/3/2006) maintains that if an undocumented immigrant is found guilty of crime, the person may be deported (section 19).
Illinois SB 624 (signed 7/18/2006) states that an alien who is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor may be deported if an order of deportation has already been ordered or if deportation wouldn’t lessen the crime (section 5).
New Jersey SB 2007 (signed 7/8/2006) appropriates $5,000,000 for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program and $2,403,000 for the Alien Labor Certification service grant.
Ohio SB 9 (signed 3/1/2006) states that state and local authorities should comply with the U.S. Patriot Act. This bill requires that a driver’s license applicant be a resident or a temporary resident of the state of Ohio (section 4507.08). The legislation requires ICE to be notified when a suspected non-citizen pleads guilty to or is convicted of a felony. The bill also requires a list of all unauthorized immigrants currently serving prison terms to be compiled and given to ICE to determine if ICE wishes to gain custody of any undocumented prisoner. Aliens currently serving prison terms should be released to the custody of ICE upon completion of their prison term (section 2909.30).
South Dakota SB 63 (signed 2/28/2006) includes ICE officers in the definition of a federal law enforcement officer (section 1).
Virginia HB 1046 (signed 4/5/2006) provides that juvenile intake officers shall report to ICE a juvenile who has been detained based on allegations of violent juvenile felony and who the intake officer has probable cause to believe is in the United States illegally.
California HB 2060 (signed 9/30/2006) establishes the Naturalization Services Program to be implemented by the Department of Community Services to, among other things, contract with and allocate funds to organizations to provide free naturalization services.
Kansas HB 2485 (signed 3/20/2006) requires notary publics to advertise that they are not authorized to practice law nor give advice as immigration lawyers (section 1). Notary publics can be terminated if their citizenship status is revoked (section 2).
Maine HB 1398/ LD 1996 (signed 5/4/2006), referred to as the Immigration and Nationality Law Assistance Act, specifies requirements for those wishing to provide immigration law services, allowing only those lawyers who have passed the bar to dispense legal immigration advice. The bill also makes state requirements the same as federal requirements for those wishing to practice immigration law (section 3). An immigration assistance provider may not state that he or she receives special privileges or expedited service from any government agency. Notary publics are required to advertise that they do not offer immigration legal services (section 4).
Tennessee HB 3069 (signed by House and Senate Speakers 6/8/2006) prohibits a notary public who is not an attorney licensed to practice law in the state from advising or assisting in selecting or completing forms affecting or relating to a person's immigration status unless that conduct is specifically authorized by federal law (section 3).
Vermont S 0182 (signed 5/2/2006) requires courts to advise defendants of immigration consequences when pleading guilty to criminal offenses. These consequences include denial of U. S. citizenship or deportation. If the court fails to alert the defendant prior to an admission of guilt, the verdict must be retracted and the defendant may enter a plea of not guilty (section 1).
Georgia’s SB 529 (The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act) covers multiple topics and was signed by the Governor on April 17, 2006. The bill requires public employers to participate in a federal work authorization program for all new employees beginning July 1, 2007; subcontractors must also register and participate (section 2). The bill increases the penalties for human trafficking (section 3). The bill authorizes the state to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of Justice or U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding enforcement of federal immigration and customs laws (section 4). If a person is charged with a felony or drunk driving and confined to jail, an effort shall be made to determine the nationality; if the person is a foreign national, a reasonable effort shall be made to determine that the person has been admitted into the United States lawfully (section 5). The bill also establishes and enforces standards of ethics by those that provide immigration assistance services who are not licensed attorneys (section 6). The bill denies certain deductible business expenses unless the worker has been authorized and verified to work in the U.S., beginning in 2008 (section 7). The bill requires income tax withholding at 6 percent for those who failed to provide a correct taxpayer identification number (section 8). State agencies must also verify the lawful presence of an individual over age 18 before awarding certain benefits; emergency assistance, vaccines and other programs are exempted (section 9).
Arizona HB 2448/SB 2738 (signed 4/24/2006) requires U.S. citizenship or legal immigrant status to receive health benefits. An unauthorized immigrant can receive emergency medical services only (section 1).
Arizona SB 1137 (signed 6/1/2006) limits eligibility for the Comprehensive Care for the Elderly program to citizens and those with legal alien status (section 1).
California SB 1534 (signed 9/30/2006) authorizes cities, counties, and hospitals to provide aid (including healthcare) to any person who would be eligible if not for the immigration status requirements of PRWORA.
California SB 1569 (signed 9/29/2006) extends eligibility for state and local public benefits, Medi-Cal health care and refugee cash assistance and employment services, to non-citizen victims of trafficking, domestic violence and other serious crimes, to the same extent as available to individuals admitted to the United States as refugees. This bill requires the State Department of Social Services to adopt regulations, which may be emergency regulations, as specified, to implement these provisions no later than July 1, 2008.
Colorado HB 1002 (signed 7/31/2006) mandates that unauthorized immigrants should receive services including the investigation, identification, testing, preventive care, and treatment of epidemic or communicable disease, including TB, HIV, AIDS, and venereal diseases (sections 1-7).
Colorado HB 1023 (signed 7/31/2006) restricts public benefits from those who are not U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents. Applicants for public benefits who are eighteen years old or older must show a valid ID, such as a Colorado driver’s license or ID card, military ID, etc., before receiving benefits. Restricted benefits include: retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, and unemployment. All Colorado residents, regardless of legal status, can receive emergency medical services, immunizations and treatments for communicable diseases, other services necessary for life and safety, pre-natal care, and short-term emergency relief. Use of the SAVE verification program is required. If caught using false information or fraudulent documents in order to receive benefits, an offender could face up to a year and a half in jail and a $5,000 fine for each offense (section 1).
Hawaii HB 2966 (signed 6/9/2006) amends public housing rules and regulations to restrict down payment and mortgage loans to legal aliens, and defines ‘qualified applicant’ as one who is a citizen or resident alien (part II).
Maine’s HB 1242/LD 1734 (signed 3/16/2006) is entitled “An Act to Increase Accessibility to Health Insurance,” and defines a person as “legally domiciled” in the state if one has a resident visa (section 1). The bill allows those non-citizens who have resident visas and who are living in Maine to be eligible for Medicare coverage (section 2).
Maryland HB 89 (signed 5/2/2006) requires the Governor to support the Maryland Medical Assistance Program for healthcare services for specified legal immigrant children under 18 and pregnant women in the annual budget, beginning in FY 2008. At least $3 million shall be appropriated each year to provide these services. Pregnant legal immigrant women who entered the country after August 22, 1996 and who meet eligibility guidelines for federal and state medical assistance programs qualify (section 2).
Rhode Island HB7120 (enacted 6/30/2006) provides that no new non-citizen child be enrolled in the Rhode Island Medicaid program after December 31st, 2006 (40-8-1(d)).
Colorado SB 206 (signed 5/30/2006) makes smuggling humans a Class 3 felony, unless the adult is an illegal immigrant, which makes the offense a Class 2 felony. Smuggling includes offering transportation to someone of illegal residency status to enter, pass through, or remain in either the United States or Colorado in exchange for money. A separate offense is brought against the smuggler for each person assisted (section 1).
Colorado SB 207 (signed 5/30/2006) makes human trafficking a crime and increases penalties. Trafficking a human includes selling, exchanging, bartering or leasing an adult (16 years old or older) in exchange for money. Trafficking also includes receiving the services of an adult in exchange for money (section 1). Trafficking of any child under the age of 16 results in a Class 3 felony (section 2).
Colorado SB 225 (signed 6/6/2006) creates a division in the Colorado State Patrol Department of Public Safety to address human smuggling and human trafficking on state highways (section 1).
Colorado SB 004 (signed 7/31/2006) includes threats to report a person’s immigration status to law enforcement officials in the definition of extortion (section 1).
Colorado SB 005 (signed 7/31/2006) makes threatening the destruction of immigration or work documents or threatening the notification of law enforcement officials of undocumented status in order to force a person into labor or services, with or without compensation, a Class 6 felony (section 1).
Florida SB 250 (signed 6/12/2006) makes human trafficking a crime. Trafficking includes threatening to destroy or destroying immigration documents for the purposes of forced employment (section 1). Victims of trafficking can receive up to three times the monetary amount for their services as restitution (section 3).
Hawaii HB 2051 (signed 7/3/2006) establishes a task force to study effective strategies to combat human trafficking (section 1).
Iowa SB 2219 (signed 4/21/2006) makes human trafficking a crime and increases penalties. Training regarding the sensitive treatment of trafficking victims is ordered, and communication by law enforcement officials in the language of the victims is encouraged (section 1). A person engages in trafficking by physically restraining the victim or threatening to do so. A person also engages in trafficking by benefiting from the services of the victim or by receiving money for the victim’s services. Threatening to destroy or destroying identification documents to force a person into service constitutes trafficking. Trafficking carries a Class D felony charge if the victim is over 18 and a Class C felony charge if the victim is under 18 (section 3). The value of the labor provided by the victim will be taken into account when restitution is considered (section 5). A trafficking victim may qualify, under certain circumstances, for a special immigrant visa and may also qualify for some federal assistance (section 6). The bill institutes a Victim Compensation Fund (section 8). The bill also calls for a study to examine the effects of trafficking on victims (section 9).
Maine HB 893/ LD 1296 (signed 4/28/2006) establishes a task force to investigate possible determents to trafficking (section 1).
Michigan HB 5747 (signed 5/25/2006) stiffens penalties for human trafficking. The bill defines trafficking as compelling a person into forced labor by causing or threatening bodily harm. The penalty for this crime is a prison sentence varying from up to 10 years to life, depending on the severity of the offense (section 462b). The bill also forbids forced labor or services by threatening the destruction of immigration documents, and increases penalties for human trafficking (section 462e). Makes the intention to traffick a human criminal (section 462h). Finally, kidnapping, attempting to kill, murdering, or engaging in criminal sexual conduct with a trafficking victim is punishable by life imprisonment (section 462i).
Mississippi HB 381 (signed 4/21/2006) increases the penalties for a person found guilty of human trafficking of any kind to prison sentence of up to 20 years. A person found guilty of recruiting a minor for employment in the sex industry can receive a prison sentence of up to 30 years (section 3). Destroying or threatening to destroy immigration documents for the purposes of restricting travel will result in a prison term of no more than 5 years. (section 4).
North Carolina HB 1896 (adopted 7/27/2006) makes trafficking a felony, and includes in the definition of trafficking threatening to destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess any actual or purported passport or other immigration document or any other actual or purported government identification document of another person (section 20).
Virginia SB 291 (signed 3/30/2006) makes the act of threatening an individual with reporting illegal status to officials for the purposes of extorting money a Class 5 felony.
Colorado SB 007 (signed 7/31/2006) makes the act of deliberately voting in an election without proper authorization a Class 5 felony (section 1).
Delaware SB 162 (signed 2/1/2006) amends the Delaware Code Relating to Elections. The amended bill requires that appointed elected officials swear “I will not knowingly or willfully receive or consent to the receiving of the vote of any alien…” upon the opening of a polling place on election day (section 52).
Missouri SB 1014 (signed 6/14/2006) mandates that applicants for voter registration may only use identification issued in the U.S. or Missouri (i.e. driver's license, passport, etc). The ID used must include a picture (section 115.427.1).
New Hampshire SB 403 (law without signature 6/16/2006) requires proof of citizenship for voter registration purposes (section 1).
South Dakota SB 118 (signed 2/22/2006) amends the requirements necessary for voting. A voter must present a passport or government-issued photo identification card before receiving a ballot (section 1).
Virginia HB 170 (signed 5/18/2006) requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to provide the State Board of Elections with a list of non-citizen driver’s license applicants each month. When collecting this information, the DMV may not offer voter registration to the applicant. The general registrar can cancel voter registration as a result of non-citizen status. The DMV is not required to verify any claims of residency (section 24.2-410.1). The general registrar is required to delete the names of those voters who have non-citizen status. Those names must be kept in a separate database for 4 years (section 24.2-404).
Alcohol and Tobacco: Wyoming HB 144 (signed 3/11/2006) allows a permanent resident card or internationally accepted passport to be used as acceptable documentation to rent a keg (section 1).
Gun permits: Georgia HB 1032 (signed 4/20/2006) provides for a check of ICE records for non-citizen gun-permit applicants. Non-citizen applicants are not permitted to obtain a gun permit (section 1).
Hawaii SB 2263 (signed 4/25/2006) requires the issuing authority to perform an inquiry on non-citizen applicants by using the ICE databases for the National Instant Criminal Background check system before approving or denying a gun permit (section 3).
Virginia HB 1577 (signed 4/19/2006) denies anyone unlawfully residing in the U.S. permission to obtain a handgun permit.
Residency Definition: Idaho HB 457 (signed 3/15/2006) excludes non-resident aliens, as defined under the Internal Revenue Code, from the definition of state resident (section 1).
Study: North Carolina HB 1723 (signed 8/16/2006) permits the Legislative Research Commission to study the impact of undocumented immigrants on the State, including healthcare, education and social services; criminal justice; the economy; economic and workforce development; and any other relevant issues (section 2.1).
Arizona HCM 2018 (adopted 4/12/2006) urges Congress to include an agriculture commuter worker permit program as part of immigration reform legislation to allow foreign workers to commute across the border daily to work if they fulfill certain security-related requirements.
Arizona HJR 2001 (signed 4/28/2006) requests the United States Congress and the United States Department of Homeland Security to supplement ICE with state auxiliary reserve units under the Coast Guard.
Georgia SR 1426 (adopted 3/30/2006) recognizes the great value of continued immigration into Georgia.
Illinois HR 913 (adopted 3/14/2006) urges Congress to pass the DREAM Act (S.2075, HR 5131).
Illinois SR 523 (adopted 3/28/2006) Encourages the United States Congress to take action on federal immigration reforms, which would provide for family unification as part of comprehensive immigration reform.
Illinois SR 578 (adopted 3/28/2006) urges the Illinois Congressional Delegation and all of Congress to support the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (S.1033, HR2330).
Illinois HR 849 (adopted 3/29/2006) urges the passage of the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (S.1033, HR2330).
Illinois HR 1188 (adopted 5/3/2006) creates a False Identification Task Force to address the problem of the illegal sale of fraudulent driver’s licenses and other false forms of identification.
Louisiana HCR 33 (adopted 4/6/2006) memorializes congress to take such actions as are necessary to secure our nation's borders, identify and deport immigration violators, preclude automatic citizenship for children born of such violators, and to revise the work visa program to remove the means by which it is abused.
Louisiana HCR 194 (adopted 6/16/2006) requests the Louisiana State Law Institute to evaluate the impact of immigration on Louisiana laws and make recommendations to the legislature.
New York K 1820 (adopted 4/11/2006) calls for Congress to reject HR 4437.
North Carolina HR 2692 (signed 7/24/2006) expresses support for the establishment of an immigration court in North Carolina, urges congress to make conviction of driving while impaired a deportable offense, and supports expansion of the department of homeland security's program permitting local officers to identify persons not legally present in the United States and have been previously deported or who are wanted on outstanding felony charges.
Arizona HB 2701 (vetoed 3/9/2006) would have allowed the governor to mobilize the National Guard to enforce the border if the state issues a state of emergency resulting from an excessive number of illegal border crossings.
Arizona SB 1157 (vetoed 4/17/2006) would have criminalized illegal entry into Arizona and allowed trespassers to be prosecuted.
Arizona HB 2577 (vetoed 6/6/2006) would have criminalized illegal immigration status, provided $160 million in aid to law enforcement agencies to stop flow of immigrants, established fines for businesses who continue to hire undocumented workers after warnings, required law enforcement agencies to train employees in immigration enforcement procedures, and denied education benefits to immigrants.
California SB 160 (vetoed 09/30/2006) entitled The California Dream Act, would have requested the University of California and required the California State University and the California Community Colleges to establish procedures and forms to enable students who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition, as specified (including illegal immigrants who have attended a public high school in California for at least three years and have filed the proscribed affidavit), to participate in all student aid programs administered by these segments.
New York SB 7405 (vetoed 9/13/2006) would have provided an additional one year waiver from citizenship and immigration status requirements for obtaining a pharmacist’s license.
Wisconsin SB 567 (vetoed 5/26/2006) would have required all applicants for state benefit programs to show proof of citizenship or legal immigration status.
For corrections and additions, please contact: Dirk Hegen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Morse, Adam Blott, Leya Speasmaker, and Laura Dwyer
Immigrant Policy Project
National Conference of State Legislatures
Washington, DC office
Last updated November 17, 2006