As Congress struggles to complete work on legislation addressing illegal immigration, state legislatures are increasingly revising or creating their own immigration laws.
State legislators have introduced roughly two and a half times more bills in 2007 than in 2006 dealing with immigration. The number of enactments from 2006 (84) has more than doubled to 170 in 2007.
Immigration-related legislation covers almost every policy arena relevant in state legislatures. Many states have focused on employment, health, identification and driver’s and other licenses, law enforcement, public benefits and human trafficking.
This wave of legislation includes mandates for employers prohibiting the employment of undocumented workers, imposing penalties for non-compliance and requiring work-authorization verification, sometimes beyond what Congress requires. The legislation also includes proposals to eliminate state services and benefits to undocumented immigrants, new mandates on state and local law enforcement and demands for federal action.
Many of these bills seem to contradict federal immigration laws, confusing employers and even state labor department officials.
EWIC urges Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Citizenship and immigration are federal responsibilities, with important national security and economic implications. Accordingly, they should be addressed by the federal government. America’s restaurateurs share the frustration of many state and local policy makers at the delay in federal action and want Congress and the administration to address this problem.
REPORT: Assessing the Economic Affects of State Laws Addressing the Employment of Foreign-Born Unauthorized Workers
States that have introduced legislation concerning immigration with regards to employer penalties and worker verification:
Tracking Chart of State Immigration Legislation- 01/17/2008 (excel)
Tracking Chart of State Immigration Legislation- 01/15/2008 (excel)
Tracking Chart of State Immigration Legislation - 10/9/07 (excel)
Map of state immigration proposals (pdf)
States that have enacted immigration laws impacting employment:
Enacted State Immigration Reform Laws in 2007 (pdf)
The Impact of Immigration on a Local Economy: The Case of Dawson County, Nebraska
Great Plains Research, Vol. 13, NO. 2, 2003, pp.291-309
The Hispanic population of Lexington, seat of Nebraska's Dawson County, increased nearly ten-fold between 1990 and 2000, from just over 400 to about 4,000 and the city's population grew from 6,600 to over 10,000. Economic trends in the 1990s contrast sharply with the previous decade, when the county's population and overall employment declined rapidly. This episode of immigration provides a unique opportunity to analyze the economic impact of immigration on a local economy. Traditional models of immigration, which focus almost entirely on the effects of immigration on census data and other evidence on Dawson County's economy suggest exactly the opposite occurred during the 1990s. This article provides an explanation of the effects of immigration on Dawson County's economy that is considerably more accurate that the explanation that would be offered by traditional immigration models: immigration stimulated both labory supply and demand, hence explaining the subsequent rebound in employment, average wages, and economic growth.