States Considered More than 500 Immigration Bills in 2013
While the Gang of Eight and federal legislation dominated the immigration news in 2013, a new report from FAIR finds that more than 500 immigration-related bills were introduced in state legislatures across the country. These bills encompassed issues such as extending in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens and implementing state-wide anti-detainer policies that impede federal enforcement of immigration laws.
The report, 2013: Trends in State Immigration-related Legislation, which summarizes the trends in state immigration-related bills, notes that there was a dramatic increase in the number of bills introduced this year compared to 2012:
2013 saw a significant spike in the introduction of state immigration-related legislation. This spike can be attributed to two main factors. First, pushed by local amnesty advocates, pro-illegal immigration legislators introduced numerous bills and resolutions to complement the push for amnesty from the White House and the United States Senate.
Second, the introduction of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012 inspired a host of bills as states grappled with the decision of whether to extend or restrict benefits to this new class of persons not recognized under federal law….As of August 31, 2013, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) estimated the total number of illegal aliens approved for DACA at around 600,000, while an estimated 1 million additional illegal aliens are still eligible. USCIS has approved 97 percent of all applicants to the DACA program.
This year, Connecticut and California passed the first state-wide anti-detainer policies in the country, which:
…impede federal enforcement of immigration law by restricting state and local law enforcement agencies from complying with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests, except under limited circumstances. An ICE detainer request advises jails to hold aliens for no more than an additional 48 hours to allow ICE agents time to make arrangements for the transfer of the alien into federal custody for the purpose of removing the alien.
Similar legislation was considered in other states in 2013: