WASHINGTON - According to a new immigration report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the 50 states and Puerto Rico have introduced a record 1,538 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees in the first quarter of 2011. This number surpasses the first quarter of 2010 by 358.
Although employment, identification/driver’s licenses and law enforcement continue to be top areas of focus, with the passage of federal health care reform, health has also emerged as a top contender. In the area of health, 68 bills were introduced in 38 state legislatures. Most of these bills address eligibility criteria for health benefits for immigrants and their children.
Utah’s package of immigration-related laws attracted particular notice. Along with addressing several key issues, collectively, the laws establish a temporary guest worker program and a Utah Commission on Immigration and Migration to help integrate immigrants into life in Utah.
"State legislatures deserve a great deal of credit for stepping up to the plate on immigration reform and pinch hitting for the federal government," said William Pound, executive director of NCSL. “A federal solution is needed and long overdue. We’re pleased the administration is talking about immigration reform, and we look forward to giving the president and Congress input from the states.”
The report provides a first look at introduced 2011 legislation and presents selected examples of enacted laws and adopted resolutions. The next report, scheduled to be released in August 2011, will include all enacted laws and resolutions for January – June.
Summaries of all enacted laws and resolutions starting in 2005 are available online in a searchable database and in two PDF charts sorted alphabetically by state and by category.
This NCSL publication and PDF are registered with the NCSL copyright and may not be reproduced, uploaded or distributed in any way in its entirety.
NCSL is the bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staff of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.