Government too slow to fix US Immigration; States pass laws instead

States pass hundreds of laws in an effort to deal with US immigration issues

During the first half of 2011, 40 individual US states passed 250 new US immigration laws or resolutions between them in an effort to resolve immigration issues – some positive, and some negative. According to this Reuters article, critics are saying that the individual states taking such action shows a bit of frustration with how the federal government is taking its time in dealing with US immigration reform.

Each state, with the exception of Puerto Rico, proposed immigration-related legislation in the first half of 2011. To see just how high this number is, consider that in 2005 individual states enacted only 38 new immigration laws.

The newest numbers were released in a recent report by the American Immigration Council.

According to the article, some of the new legislation included:

– Alabama, Utah, Georgia, Indiana and South Carolina all enacted stiff laws that closely mirrored the very controversial Arizona immigration law (enacted in 2010), the most important part of which allow police to enforce immigration by checking the legal status of someone who “looks like” an immigrant. However, these laws have all been challenged.

– Some states enacted laws that would require businesses to check the status of their employees using the E-Verify program, which is a government program that allows businesses to check if a worker is illegal.

– Almost 15 states added funding for immigration initiatives in their state budgets.

– Other laws ranged from voter identification to allowing tuition for illegal immigrants in the United States.

Actions like these show it is especially important for the United States government to make US immigration a top priority, as opposed to having different laws in each state.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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