Immigrant Policies Issues Overview

ImmigrationFederal immigration decisions have direct and indirect effects on state and local governments in the form of their budgets; the composition of their citizenry; the utilization and quality of their services; and the general social, political, and economic character of their communities. 

Although the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over immigration policy (the terms and conditions for entry into the United States), states and localities have become responsible for immigrant policy (the policies that help newcomers integrate into the country’s economic, social, and civic life.)  States implement programs required by federal law, provide services mandated by the courts, and initiate programs and policies to serve the specialized needs of their new citizens.

The NCSL Immigrant Policy Project provides legislative research and analysis on a range of policy issues, such as the provision of social services, health care, education and immigrant integration assistance, including citizenship and civic engagement.  Project publications have examined immigrants’ eligibility for federal and state programs, including TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid, SCHIP, and SSI.  We provide information on federal immigration reform proposals; issues related to immigration employment (temporary worker visas, E-Verify and worksite enforcement), and state fiscal impact studies.  Finally, the Project regularly produces a report on state laws and resolutions related to immigrants and immigration. 

NCSL Executive Committee Task Force on Immigration and the States

The NCSL Executive Committee Task Force on Immigration and the States was created with the dual purpose of providing a forum for states to exchange ideas and promising practices while helping legislators understand the implications of federal immigration reform proposals on their states.  This task force is examining federalism issues related to immigration policy and the role of states in immigrant policy, exploring new mechanisms for participating in state-federal immigration partnerships, including fair and effective immigration processing and enforcement and extending support for immigrant integration programs. 
State and Local Coalition on Immigration

The State and Local Coalition on Immigration is a collaborative effort of six national organizations representing state and local government: The National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, and the American Public Human Services Association. Since the early 1980s, these organizations have worked individually and jointly to advance the state and local perspective on immigration before Congress and the Administration through correspondence, issue briefings, and testimony.

State and Local Coalition on Immigration contacts:
NCSL: Sheri Steisel
NGA: Heather Hogsett
NACo: Marilina Sanz
APHSA: Larry Goolsby
USCM: Crystal Swann
NLC: Leslie Wollack