Saturday, September 7, 2013
Is the Tide Beginning to Turn? Inclusive Policies Advance Dramatically in the States: Immigrants' Access to Drivers' Licenses, Higher Education, Workers' Rights, and Community Policing
For years, state and local governments, including Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia, as well as Hazleton, PA, Farmer's Branch, Texas, and others, have passed tough immigration enforcement laws, It appears that the 2012 elections have changed things some.
The National Immigration Law Center has just released a report Inclusive Policies Advance Dramatically in the States: Immigrants' Access to Drivers' Licenses, Higher Education, Workers' Rights, and Community Policing. It reports that, as Congress debated federal immigration reform this year, states led the way by adopting policies designed to integrate immigrants more fully into their communities. In the wake of the 2012 elections, with Latino and Asian voters participating in record numbers, the 2013 state legislative sessions witnessed a significant increase in pro-immigrant activity. Issues that had been dormant or had moved in a restrictive direction for years, such as expanding access to driver’s licenses, gained considerable traction, along with measures improving access to education and workers’ rights for immigrants.
The report concludes:
"This year’s pro-immigrant . . . victories reflect a shift in attitude across much of the country. Stepped-up civic participation by immigrant communities contributed to the political changes that made these policies possible. In places where earlier waves of anti-immigrant activism produced restrictive policies, residents increasingly find that the policies are unworkable legally, practically, and politically, which is motivating them to explore more inclusive alternatives.”