States consider record number of immigration bills
In the absence of federal action on immigration reform, a record number of immigration-related bills are under consideration, or have been enacted, in all 50 states. Nationwide, 1,169 immigration bills are in the works, and at least 57 bills in 18 states have been enacted, according to the Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
The bills cover a range of topics, including access to drivers’ licenses, health, human trafficking, voting and law enforcement. “There’s no question that immigration reform is one of the nation’s most pressing issues, and it should come as no surprise that state legislators are responding accordingly,” says NCSL President and Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte. “However, what is extremely disappointing is Congress’ inability to craft a comprehensive immigration reform solution. Washington’s inability to reach consensus has forced states to roll up their sleeves and get the job done.”
States cannot address the problem on their own, Van de Putte says, but they bear the brunt of immigration-related effects on education, health and law enforcement. More information and an overview of immigration legislation are available on the NCSL Web site, www.ncsl.org.