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State of Play | Navigating Immigration Policy at the State Level

Lawmakers’ responses to immigration challenges vary by state.

By State Legislatures News Staff  |  April 16, 2024

Immigration is historically a federal issue, but an increase in the number of people coming to the U.S. has brought renewed attention to the way immigration affects state policies.

In this month’s installment of State of Play,” a bipartisan video series created by A Starting Point and NCSL, Arizona Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R) and Rhode Island Rep. Leonela Felix (D) discuss the role states play in immigration, how the increase in undocumented migrants is affecting state and local economies, how illegal immigration affects the demand for public services and whether states should allocate tax dollars for undocumented migrants.

“States play a vital role when it comes to immigration within their borders,” Felix says. “States also often collaborate with federal authorities, and the extent of that collaboration really varies from state to state.”

Biasiucci says that due to the current surge at the border and the federal government's lack of action, more laws are being passed at the state level, even though the issue is historically a federal one.

“When this surge happened, we knew as a state we had to do something,” he says. “So now you’re seeing more laws being passed at the state level, more decisions being made at the state level, whether it’s from the governor down to the Legislature, saying, ‘OK, if they can’t do the job, then we need to step up and do it.’”

Join the conversation now by watching the video.

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