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Immigration Legislation by State

Note: Listed here are the six states that have passed laws that criminalize undocumented immigrants. Numerous other laws have been enacted that either marginalize or make welcome undocumented immigrants. If your congregation is working to address immigration legislation at the state or local levels, please let us know at socialjustice @ uua.org.

Alabama: AL's HB 56 was signed into law by Republican Governor Robert Bentley on June 9, 2011. HB 56 requires public schools to check students’ immigration status, criminalizes giving an undocumented immigrant a ride, requires employers to use E-Verify to check potential employees’ status, and instructs police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect the person of being an undocumented immigrant. The federal government has filed suit.

Arizona: AZ started the current wave of state legislation that criminalizes undocumented immigrants when Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law on April 23, 2010. Amongst numerous other things, SB 1070 requires that state law enforcement officers determine the immigration status of people they stop if there is "reasonable suspicion" that they are undocumented, makes it illegal to shelter, hire or transport an undocumented immigrant, and bars state or local officials or agencies from restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws. A federal judge blocked several of the worst provisions including the first. The Department of Justice has filed suit.

Georgia: GA's HB 87 was signed into law by Republican Governor Nathan Deal on May 13, 2011. HB 87 requires businesses to use E-Verify to check a prospective's employee's status, requires state and local law enforcement officers to investigate the immigration status of people they “reasonably suspect” of being undocumented, and makes it illegal to harbor or transport an undocumented immigrant. As in Arizona, a federal judge has blocked the first two provisions.

Indiana: IN's SB590 was signed into law by Republican Governor Mitch Daniels on May 10, 2011. SB590 requires law enforcement officials who stop persons suspected of a crime for proof of citizenship if there is a "reasonable suspicion" that they are undocumented. It also mandates that English be used for all state and local government correspondence and strengthens penalties against businesses that employ illegal immigrants. A federal judge has blocked the first provision.

South Carolina: SC's S 20 was signed into law by Republican Governor Nikki Haley on June 27, 2011. S 20 requires all police officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they detain regardless of the type of infraction, creates a statewide "Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit," allows state residents to file suit against public officials who they believe are not enforcing the law, and makes being in the country without documentation a felony. The federal government has filed a lawsuit to block it from going into effect on January 1, 2012.

Utah: UT's HB 497 was signed into law by Republican Governor Gary Herbert on March 15, 2011. Like the laws above it, it instructs local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of those whom they suspect of being undocumented. The Department of Justice has filed suit.

For more information contact socialjustice @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Monday, December 19, 2011.

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