State legislatures introducing more immigration laws: NCSL

[JURIST] State legislatures across the United States have enacted at least 170 immigration-related bills in 2007 [press release] as a result of the "continued absence of a comprehensive federal reform of the United States' challenged immigration system," according to a report released Monday by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NSCL) [official website]. The report says that no fewer than 1404 pieces of legislation have been proposed and indicates that most enacted legislation came in the form of non-binding resolutions, followed by laws relating to state identification, driver's licenses and other licenses. Nineteen states also enacted laws focusing on employment eligibility verification. The number is roughly "two and half times more bills" than those passed up to the same point in 2006, and only nine states did not enact immigration related legislation in 2007. Texas Senator and NCSL President Leticia Van de Putte [official website] said "Congress' failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform has really forces the states' hands," adding that "since the federal ship has sunk, there have been 50 lifeboats in the water seeking a solution."

Local governments have taken different and often drastic approaches towards the issue of illegal immigration [JURIST news archive]. In July, a federal judge declared that two anti-illegal immigration laws passed by the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania [official website; legal defense website] were unconstitutional [JURIST report]. In New Haven, Connecticut, municipal authorities have begun offering identification cards [JURIST report], which do not distinguish citizens from undocumented immigrants, that will allow access to municipal services and public libraries. The New York Times has more.

 

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