Most people already know that there are federal laws governing the immigration process in the United States. However, states also enforce their own laws on a variety of matters, including requirements for employment, driver's licenses and more. For certain matters, immigrants should be sure to adhere to Louisiana state law. However, when state law may seem at odds with federal immigration law, federal law typically controls.
An example of state law is that all public and private employers in Louisiana have to use E-verify with new hires. This process confirms that an individual is eligible for employment in the U.S. and may prevent undocumented immigrants from finding employment. The state also regulates the information that people must provide when applying for IDs or driver's licenses. Immigrants must be able to establish their identities and birth dates, which can be accomplished through a number of documents.
Most immigration matters are governed by federal law. For example, federal law restricts the ability of undocumented immigrants to access public benefits. This does not apply to health care, emergency services or other services and programs that are deemed necessary for protecting safety and life. Undocumented immigrants also do not qualify for in-state tuition at universities and colleges.
Rather than replacing federal U.S. immigration law, state laws are expected to work alongside and support the federal laws. However, there are times where the two may seem at odds with one another. However, since state laws can potentially affect immigration status, undocumented immigrants may want to speak with experienced attorneys regarding these types of confusing situations.