Monday, January 12, 2015

States Begin New Year by Implementing New Immigration Laws

Immigration Impact reports on how the new year has brought a number of legal changes for immigrants.  Despite federal inaction on immigration reform, state and local officials took pragmatic steps to help undocumented immigrants living in their communities better integrate. Connecticut and California were two of 10 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses; as of January 1, those immigrants can apply for licenses.

In llinois, outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn issued an executive order providing that immigration status alone would not be a valid reason for Illinois state police to detain someone. According to the order, "community policing efforts are hindered” when immigrants who are victims of, or witness to, crimes are afraid of cooperating out of fear that they would be deported. The order only applies to state troopers and conservation police who are under the governor’s control, but it mirrors similar changes in counties and other states that have stopped cooperating with requests to detain a person at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

For analysis of constructive state immigration reform efforts, click here.


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