August 9, 2011 / 11:05 PM / in 6 years

Report: 40 U.S. states passed immigration laws in 2011

By Karen Brooks
    AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Nearly 250 new immigration
laws and resolutions were enacted in 40 U.S. states during the
first half of this year, indicating frustration with the
federal government's handling of the issue, according to a new
    The laws range from hiring restrictions to voter
identification and allowing in-state tuition for illegal
immigrants, according to the report released on Tuesday by the
National Conference of State Legislatures.
    The numbers show a slight decrease in activity from last
year, but every state and Puerto Rico proposed legislation
dealing with the issue in the first six months of 2011.
    By comparison, only 38 immigration laws were enacted by
states in 2005.
    "States are reacting to the federal government in
inefficiency and they're trying to figure out how to deal with
it -- good, bad and ugly," said Wendy Sefsaf, director of
communications at the American Immigration Council, a
Washington think tank.
    "Immigration impacts every policy issue there is, and
people are trying to figure out how to manage it, for better or
for worse, because the federal government won't."
    Among the findings in the report, released during the
council's annual meeting in San Antonio:
    * 14 states included funding for immigration initiatives in
their budgets.
    * Governors vetoed 12 pieces of legislation, including
bills related to social services and immigration.
    * Ten states enacted legislation requiring businesses or
contractors to use the government E-Verify program to ensure
the legal status of workers.
    * Five states -- Alabama, Georgia, Utah, Indiana and South
Carolina -- enacted omnibus laws inspired by Arizona's 2010
law, which gave police the power to enforce immigration. All
have been challenged in court.
 (Editing by Greg McCune)

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