When it comes to immigration law in the U.S., a lot of public focus goes to federal law. Now, federal immigration laws and regulations are remarkably impactful, as they affect fundamental things like what immigration options are available to foreign nationals and what the immigration process entails. However, they are not the only laws here in the U.S. that can have significant impacts on immigrants.
There are also state laws that impact immigration. These laws can touch on a wide range of immigrant-related matters. They can impact many things including: what living in a given state is like for immigrants, what rights and options are available for immigrants when they are living in the state and how immigration is viewed by the state's population in general.
Last year was a pretty busy year here in the U.S. when it came to state-level immigration legislation. Much more such legislation was enacted that year than the previous year. In 2015, states enacted 216 immigration-related laws and 274 immigration-related resolutions. In 2014, only 171 laws and 117 resolutions related to immigration were enacted by states.
The immigration legislation enacted by states in 2015 covered all sorts of areas, including: voting, public benefits, task forces, law enforcement, licenses, IDs, human trafficking, health, employment, education, refugees and budgets.
In Louisiana, for example, 15 pieces of state legislation that touched on immigration were enacted last year.
One wonders if 2016 will be another year full of state-level immigration legislation.
Individuals with questions about how state or federal immigration laws might impact them or their family should have a discussion with an attorney experienced in immigration issues.
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, "Report On 2015 State Immigration Laws," Feb. 16, 2016