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Several Republican attorneys general told The Washington Times last month that they consider immigration a national issue and want to see Washington muster leadership.

“We have to look to the federal government to take the charge on immigration reform,” said Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers. “The Arizona case and others are kind of mapping out what the states can do and what the federal government has to do.”

But Kris Kobach, the secretary of state in Kansas who was also a leading architect of Arizona’s crackdown law, said he still sees an appetite to act.

“I don’t think the atmosphere in the state legislatures has changed at all,” he said. “I think what we saw in 2011 and 2012 was the states that were the low-hanging fruit were already primed and ready to do something active. They’ve already taken steps, and are happy with those steps, and other states are moving to follow them.”

He called those new opportunities “second wave” states.

Mr. Kobach said the president’s move to grant legal status to illegal immigrant young adults last year was confusing for states, creating chaos about what other benefits they should be entitled to.

“The Obama administration, through its illegal executive amnesty, is trying to have it both ways. They recognize that they have no power to grant lawful immigration status to illegal aliens, yet at the same time they are trying to tell the states to go ahead and give these illegal aliens driver’s licenses,” said Mr. Kobach, the lead attorney on a lawsuit by federal immigration agents challenging the policy.

He said given Mr. Obama’s moves and the debate in Congress, state lawmakers who want to see a crackdown realize that the states are their only avenues for action.

“The events since the start of the year have made it clear to state leaders that the only serious efforts to enforce the law are going to be at the state level,” Mr. Kobach said.

He said his home state of Kansas could repeal its in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants.