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Fewer new immigration laws passed at state level in 2012

The first six months of 2012 saw fewer individual state laws passed that involve immigration issues. New immigration laws enacted at the state level were down roughly 20 percent from the number of laws and resolution concerning immigration issues that were passed in 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The group's Immigration Policy Project released a report Monday that says other issues, like state budget gaps and redistricting issues, have taken up most of the time at the state lawmaking level, However, the report acknowledges that new immigration laws at the state level were hampered during the first six months of the year as legislators waited to see the outcome of pending litigation over the individual state's constitutional authority to pass immigration laws.

As this blog previously reported, the United States Supreme Court threw out several provisions of Arizona's state immigration law, while the high court upheld the controversial provision allowing local and state law enforcement officers to check on the immigration status of people who are stopped in that state. More federal litigation remains pending concerning constitutional issues on state immigration laws left unanswered in the June decision.

The recent report says that 41 states enacted new immigration laws or passed resolutions involving immigration policy. Roughly 25 percent of the new immigration laws enacted at the state level during the first half of this year involved legislation to fund naturalization, migrant and refugee programs at the state level.

However, identification issues were not far behind. The report says that 18 percent of the new immigration laws enacted so far this year at the state level involved identification issues, while 11 percent of the new immigration laws in 2012 involved driver's license issues.

Source: Reuters, "States passing fewer immigration laws in 2012: study," Aug. 6, 2012

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