In the first six months of 2012, 41 states enacted 114 bills related to immigration, including another 92 amendments or resolutions to current policies on the matter. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, those figures represent a declining interest in passing or enacting immigration laws at the state level; the same period in 2011 saw 20 percent more activity for immigration laws.
Given the controversy surrounding Arizona’s SB 1070 bill and the furor over similar laws in Georgia and Alabama, this news may come as a surprise. It seems that states are constantly proposing and passing immigration laws — and, ultimately, seeing such provisions appealed.
It is this reason that the passing of state-level immigration laws has declined, the report shows. Pending litigation of new immigration laws has caused many states to either postpone or outright reject new immigration legislation, while many other states have greater budgetary issues that have shifted their focus elsewhere.
However, this says nothing about federal laws and immigration programs that are constantly shaping and changing the landscape of immigration enforcement. “Optional” federal programs whose aim is to strengthen immigration laws have become required programs, while others have just been discontinued.
Immigration laws are always changing; whether the change is a minor tweak to an existing provision, a complete overhaul of a past bill or a brand new law, the matter of clearly defining immigration enforcement can be confounding for U.S. citizens and undocumented immigrants alike. Throw in legal challenges and appeals, and it can be nearly impossible for anyone to know what kind of legal footing they have when they face an immigration issue.
That is why it is critical to contact an experienced immigration lawyer who is well-versed in immigration law as soon as possible when faced with serious and often complicated matters, such as deportation or work visa applications.
Source: Reuters, “States passing fewer immigration laws in 2012: study,” Tim Gaynor, Aug. 6, 2012
- Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our California immigration page.