- Iraq mulls law to let men marry 8-year-old girls
- Russia sends bombers on 24-hour Arctic patrol
- Sam Adams beer brewer nixes St. Patrick’s parade that won’t allow gays
- Houston dad kills boy, 17, in daughter’s room in mistaken ID tragedy
- Rep. David Jolly ready to work with Democrats on compromise
- Joe Biden: I can’t be president — my golf would suffer
- German authorities grab suspected hardline Islamist
- Rare lesbian HIV transmission case turns up in Texas
- Obama economy: Rich get richer, as millionaires’ list grows
- Army’s ‘Most Wanted’ fugitive on lam since 1977 nabbed in Florida
It’s a hot potato in Washington, but immigration fervor cools in the states
The immigration debate may be ramping up in Washington but it’s chilled in the states, where the crackdown fervor of two years ago has given way to a cautious approach amid changing political currents and court decisions.
Gone is the appetite for broad “omnibus” bills such as Arizona’s 2011 law that instituted state criminal penalties for illegal immigration. Instead, it’s immigrant-rights groups that are now on the offensive, passing a laws granting in-state college tuition rates to illegal immigrants in Colorado and driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants in Illinois.
“There has been a general reaction by folks to the impact that the Latino vote had in November — that people are thinking twice about the actions they take,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. “Most of these pieces of legislation had been supported by Republican legislators, and I think people are thinking twice about whether this is a strategy the party wants to pursue.”
Just two years ago, the momentum was decidedly on the other side.
Congress was stalemated, leaving conservative states to push ahead with their own laws intended to get a handle on illegal immigration, which they said cost them hundreds of millions of dollars and potentially endangered safety. Plus, it appeared to be good politics in Republican primaries.
Arizona in 2007 pioneered a law requiring all businesses to use the government’s voluntary electronic worker verification system, then followed that up in 2011 with SB 1070, the law imposing state criminal penalties for illegal immigrants and requiring police to check the status of those they believed to be in the country illegally.
South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Indiana all passed similar laws.
The Supreme Court upheld the worker verification law in 2011 and last year issued a major ruling allowing the police checks to continue, though it struck down the state criminal penalties for illegal immigration.
The court also warned it could revisit the police checks if the law is implemented in a discriminatory fashion.
Now, many states are waiting to see what the courts and Congress will do next.
Ann Morse, who runs the National Conference of State Legislatures’ immigrant policy project, said interest in immigration is still high at the state level, but there are no longer the big omnibus bills.
Some states are debating new verification requirements for state services or for voting.
But where there is clear momentum, it appears to be on the immigrant-advocacy side.
Colorado’s General Assembly passed a bill earlier this month granting illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates to state colleges, and lawmakers there introduced another bill to repeal a 2006 law requiring police to cooperate with federal immigration agents.
Other states have moved to grant driver’s licenses to the young adult illegal immigrants Mr. Obama gave tentative legal status last year.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Senators deluged by complaints void 2-year-old flood insurance plan before 10-day break
- Obama calls for 'more humane' deportation policy
- Senators reach deal on unemployment benefits
- Boehner invites Pope Francis to address Congress
- Harry Reid: 'I'm not afraid of the Koch brothers'
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Bob Dole
The industrious island has proved itself worthy of U.S. inclusion
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- F-35 secrets now showing up in Chinas stealth fighter
- Deportations come mostly from border, DHS chief says
- Sam Adams beer brewer nixes St. Patrick's parade that won't allow gays
- BRUCE: The power of 'bossy'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after 'indication' of Malaysian jet crash
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- MILLER: Law enforcement realizes good people with guns deter crime
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014