Immigration Section
April 2014 Issue
Content is updated daily

Proposal And Passing Of Immigration Laws Slow In 2012

After a considerable spike in immigration-related legislation in 2011, a recent report indicates that the pace of such laws — proposed and enacted — has significantly decreased in 2012. The report cites pending cases as a potential cause for the slowdown, and lists law enforcement, employment authorization, and identification issues as continued hot topics for state lawmakers.

The report, issued by the National Conference of State Legislatures, shows that 41 state legislatures enacted 114 bills and adopted 92 resolutions between January 1 and June 30, 2012, representing a 20 percent decrease from the same time frame in 2011. Additionally, the number of immigration-related bills and resolutions proposed by lawmakers thus far in 2012 (948 total, from 46 states and the District of Columbia), marked a 40 percent decrease from the number proposed during the first half of 2011 — 1,592.

One reason cited for the significant drop or delay in immigration legislation is the fact that several states are still embroiled in pending legislation over their authority to uphold or enforce immigration laws enacted in 2011, including provisions of the controversial Arizona v. United States case. Similar laws in Alabama, South Carolina and Utah also are being contested.

Of the laws that have been passed in 2012, the top issues include law enforcement and identification, which respectively comprised 18 and 11 percent of all enacted immigration laws so far this year.

A number of states, including Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, and West Virginia, have enacted laws related to the E-Verify work authorization system — bringing the total number of states requiring E-Verify to 19.

More details on the immigration laws passed in 2012 can be found in the NCSL’s full report.

Key Points:

  • Proposed and enacted immigration-related legislation takes a significant drop thus far in 2012.
  • Law enforcement and identification remain a top issue for state lawmakers.
  • A number of states passed legislation on the USCIS’ E-Verify work authorization program.

Additional Resources:

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