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State and Local Immigration Policy

In the United States, the federal government has plenary power over immigration. This means that only the federal government can regulate immigration. However, the brokenness of the federal government's immigration system has caused towns, cities, and states to pass their own immigration laws.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state legislators in all 50 states and Puerto Rico introduced 1,607 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees in 2011. That is a significant increase from 2010, when 46 state legislatures and the District of Columbia considered more than 1,400 bills and resolutions pertaining to immigrants. Only a fraction of these bills and resolutions were enacted but the numbers demonstrate the intense energy around issues of immigration.

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Last updated on Monday, December 19, 2011.

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