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RESOURCES ON THE RESPONSE OF STATE GOVERNMENT TO IMMIGRANTS

Arranged in order of publication date with the most recent on top. Scroll down for all entries. Although potentially useful, these resources are not necessarily endorsed by Diversity Dynamics.

Implementation of an effective immigrant integration strategy requires the establishment of centers of leadership, coordination, resource management, and accountability within state government. A number of states have established such centers. This collection contains reports and studies pertaining to the operation of such centers. It also includes studies of changing political dynamics and restrictionist activities undertaken by states.

State-Based Visas: A Federalist Approach to Reforming U.S. Immigration Policy,
Cato Institute, April 23, 2014, 15 pp.
Authors: Brandon Fuller & Sean Rust
This policy paper makes the case for a state-based visa program similar to proposals  floated by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Such a program "would allow participating states to manage the flow and regulate the quantity of temporary migrants who want to live and work within their borders." Visas could be renewed, and immigrants would be free to change employers within the state and even apply for permanent residence. Such a program would direct immigration to states that want it and away from states that don't. The report looks at two international models that, the authors believe, provide important lessons for the U.S: The Canadian Provincial Nominee Program, established in 1998 to encourage immigrants to disperse throughout Canada; and Australia's Regional Immigration Program, which allows states, localities, and even employers to sponsor immigrants. According to the authors, both programs "work well."  This type of program doesn't take the federal government out of the immigration business. It would continue to set entry criteria, determine the number of state-based visas, and perform security checks. The authors also believe that a state-based visa program "would be more equitable than existing employment-based visas," which make it difficult for workers to leave dishonest and exploitive employers.

Living in Car Culture Without a License,
Immigration Policy Center, April 24, 2014, 5 pp.
Author: Sarah E. Hendricks
Although 11 states have extended driver's license eligibility to undocumented immigrants, there are still millions of people who are barred from obtaining licenses. This paper makes the case for expanding eligibility, drawing special attention to the public safety dimensions of the issue.  Noting that the United States is "one of the top motor vehicle-dependent countries in the world," and that the economic survival and social integration of immigrants often require access to a personal vehicle, the author points out that licensing ensures that people are qualified to drive, that they carry insurance, and that they don't drive without a license and thereby endanger the lives of others. Beyond these aspects of the problem, licensing also enables undocumented immigrants, both potential business owners and employees, to make a stronger economic contribution to local communities.  Without licenses, states must contend with serious "ripple effects," including chronic poverty among undocumented people, a narrowing of opportunity for their children, and possible escalation of gang activity. According to the author, granting licenses is a "pragmatic step" ensuring "the well-being of communities" and "the long-term social and economic adjustment process of immigrants and their children."

Understanding Immigration Federalism in the United States
Center for American Progress, March, 2014, 41 pp.
Authors: Karthick Ramakrishnan and Pratheepan Gulasekaram
After a decade in which anti-immigrant sentiment fuelled restrictive legislation in several states, most notably Arizona's harsh S.B. 1070 immigration enforcement law that was copied by other states, the tide has been shifting. Today, at least 13 jurisdictions provide driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants and a growing list of states offer in-state tuition rates to all residents. In Understanding Immigration Federalism in the United States, the authors look at the reasons behind both the anti-immigrant and immigrant-friendly waves of legislation and find that several key factors help explain the shift. Most notably, the political leaning of the individual states was the crucial force behind the various legislations; Republican-led states were more likely to embrace restrictive laws while innovations like identification cards for undocumented immigrants are offered in solely Democratic-controlled cities. The Supreme Court decision that struck down a key S.B. 1070 provision as well as President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive action prompted states to fall in line and to reexamine their directions of their laws. And an increasingly important factor is the growth of the Latino electorate, which is gradually gaining influence on political decisions. The authors suggest that, in place of stalled comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, states will continue this trend of taking the lead on immigrant-friendly policy. (Denzil Mohammed)

2013 Immigration Report,
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), January 20, 2014, 8 pp.
This report is NCSL's annual review of state legislative activity on immigration-related issues.  NCSL notes a major change in focus from an emphasis on law enforcement in previous years to some expansion of benefits in 2013. Overall, there was an increase of 18 percent in enacted legislation in 2013, with 184 laws passed in 2013 compared to 156 in 2012. Eight states - California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont - joined New Mexico, Utah and Washington in extending driver's license eligibility to undocumented immigrants.  Four states - Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey and Oregon - provided in-state college tuition for qualified undocumented immigrant students, bringing to 15 the total number of states that allow this practice.  The report includes a table enumerating immigration-related legislation passed over a three year period (2011-2013) in each of the following categories: budgets, education, employment, health, human trafficking, ID/driver's licenses and other licenses, law enforcement, miscellaneous, omnibus measures, public benefits, and voting.  The report also provides details about the 2013 legislation.

2013 Immigration Report,
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), September 6, 2013, 10 pp.

The number of immigration-related laws and resolutions passed in the states increased 83% in the first half of 2013 compared to the same period last year. According to this report by the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislature's Immigrant Policy Project, the top issues occupying the attention of state legislators were eligibility for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards, and resolutions recognizing the contributions of immigrants. Other laws dealt with seasonal workers, refugees and undocumented immigrants. While NCSL does not suggest a reason for the spike in legislative activity, the report notes that it coincides with the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the Supreme Court's Arizona v. United States ruling. The report also calls attention to diverging legislative paths depending on whether Republicans or Democrats control the state legislature. Republican-controlled legislatures in states like Indiana, Virginia and Florida were more likely to restrict access to driver's licenses, in-state tuition, health benefits and jobs. Democratic-controlled legislatures in states like Colorado, Maryland and Oregon were more likely to expand such access. Despite this increase in state-level action, the report notes that 25 resolutions entreated the federal government to pass immigration reform. (Denzil Mohammed)

Inclusive Policies Advance Dramatically in the States: Immigrants' Access to Driver's Licenses, Higher Education, Workers' Rights and Community Policing,
National Immigration Law Center (NILC), August, 2013, 20 pp.
In this report, NILC provides a detailed summary of 2013 state legislative and executive action "designed to integrate immigrants more fully into their communities." The report notes that restrictive legislation was "markedly absent," with only one state (Georgia) enacting a law mandating the use of "secure and verifiable" identity documents.  By contrast, seven states and Puerto Rico joined three existing states in providing access to driver's licenses regardless of immigration status; five states joined 13 existing states in adopting laws or policies providing tuition relief to qualified undocumented students; and the State of Hawaii joined New York in passing a Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights. Beyond these developments, NILC also reports on pending pro-immigrant legislative activity, e.g. bills under consideration in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Oregon to extend workplace protections to domestic workers, and "tuition equity" bills in Virginia, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The report also reviews state and local efforts to limit police involvement in immigration law enforcement. NILC concludes that "this year's pro-immigrant legislative and administrative victories reflect a shift in attitude across much of the country."

Immigration is Changing the Political Landscape in Key States,
Center for American Progress, April 8, 2013, 12 pp.
Authors: Philip E. Wolgin & Ann Garcia

In this issue brief, the authors discuss how immigration, and specifically the growing importance of the Latino electorate, are altering the political balance in key states. In California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Virginia, Republican-sponsored, anti-immigrant measures and/or harsh campaign rhetoric have moved those states into the Democratic column. The authors suggest that continued growth in the Latino and immigrant electorate, even in reliably red states such as Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas, will tilt the political balance even further, unless Republicans support immigration reform and pay attention to an increasingly diverse electorate.

Examining Maryland's Views on Immigrants and Immigration,
University of Baltimore Law Forum, 33 pp.
Author: Elizabeth Keyes
This paper finds that Maryland's response to immigration has been both complex and contradictory. While the state eventually passed legislation granting in-state tuition to undocumented high school students (by referendum in 2012) and continues to attract high-skilled immigrant workers in health care and technology, jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction enforcement of immigration law varies widely. The geographic split mirrors divisions that existed in the state over the issue of slavery in the 19th century. Frederick County, for example,  uses local police to enforce immigration law and participates in the federal government‘s 287(g) partnership, while the City of Baltimore refrains from such cooperation and actively works to attract immigrants. This paper examines Maryland's "split personality" on immigration against the backdrop of federal actions and inactions. In the absence of federal immigration reform, the state's divergent policy reactions fail to resolve "the federal-level contradictions but simply shifts their playing field." The author concludes that congressional paralysis on immigration "has inexcusably moved a contentious political conversation to a level of government with no authority to address its real substance." Maryland's inability to find uniform solutions to the challenges of immigration offers a cautionary tale making it all the more essential that the federal government create a more sustainable and rational immigration policy. (Denzil Mohammed)

Restrictive State and Local Immigration Laws: Solutions in Search of Problems,
American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, Issue Brief,
November, 2012, 18 pp.
Authors: Pratheepan Gulasekaram & S. Karthick Ramakrishnan
This study challenges the assumption that restrictive state and local immigration ordinances are driven by demographic and other changes on the state and local level, e.g. growth of the immigrant (especially undocumented) population, and the "failure" of the federal government to combat the problem. One of the better-known proponents of this view, according to the authors, was Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote in his dissent to the 2012 Arizona v. United States decision that "Arizona bears the brunt of the country's illegal immigration problem..." Reinforcing the pervasiveness of this view has been the emphasis on "new destinations" in the immigration narrative, which suggests that local communities without a recent migration history have been overwhelmed by the arrival of new immigrants. Through the authors' study of over 25,000 local jurisdictions in all 50 states, they found that the demographic explanation had "no predictive power." Indeed, "what most subfederal  jurisdictions with immigration enforcement laws share is not economic stress or overconsumption of public goods or heightened violent crime, but rather a partisan composition within their legislative and executive branches that is highly receptive to enforcement heavy proposals."  Cities in Republican-majority areas are four times more likely to pass restrictive ordinances, whereas cities with Democratic majorities are four times more likely to pass pro-immigrant measures.  Fearful of antagonizing Republican primary voters who "care intensely about immigration," elected Republican officials are either voted out by more conservative challengers or embrace restrictive positions. At the same time, "restrictive issue entrepreneurs," such as the leaders of FAIR and NumbersUSA "purposefully promote legislative gridlock at the federal level, and then cite the very national legislative inaction they helped foment to justify restrictive solutions at the local level." The authors also take issue with Professor Peter Spiro's "steam-valve" theory, which posits that the passage of local restrictive ordinances relieves pressure on the federal government to pass similar legislation.  Finally, they predict that these political dynamics, despite the results of the 2012 presidential election, will make national legislative change "difficult to achieve" and even if national immigration reform passes,  anti-immigrant politicians may continue to proliferate restrictive legislation on the local level as a way of holding on to power.

The Partisan Fallout from Arizona's Immigration Battle: Applying Lessons from California,
Binghamton University & Boise State University, September, 2012, 33 pp.
This study seeks to predict the political future of Arizona after passage of SB 1070, a law aimed at identifying, prosecuting and deporting undocumented immigrants, most of whom are from Mexico. Critics of the law have argued that both documented and undocumented Latino residents would be subject to racial profiling. Sixteen years earlier, voters in California supported Proposition 187, a referendum that sought to deny government services, such as public education and health care, to undocumented immigrants, primarily Latinos. According to the authors, "the memories of Prop 187 were long lasting for many Latinos who came of age and became politically active during this time period." California Latinos shifted toward the Democratic Party "and have never shifted back." As a result, this episode has decisively altered the political landscape of the state. The authors note that "half of Arizona's Latino citizens are 18 or under" suggesting a significant demographic shift in the state's electorate "just as immigration politics are boiling over." The likely consequence of SB 1070, therefore, will be to end longstanding Republican dominance in Arizona "as early as 2020." (Denzil Mohammed)

The Economic Case against Arizona's Immigration Laws,
Cato Institute, September 25, 2012, 20 pp.
This study examines the social, demographic and economic effects of Arizona's immigration laws, specifically the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007 (LAWA) and SB 1070 law of 2010. The author contends that such stringent immigration laws have hurt Arizona's economy and that this unforeseen result should be weighed by other states mulling the possibility of mimicking Arizona's laws. Both the LAWA and SB 1070 focus on curbing a rise in illegal immigration to the state. LAWA mandates the use of E-Verify, which checks the status of employees, and revokes business licenses for employers who hire unauthorized workers. SB 1070 authorizes local police to enforce immigration laws. The author uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census and Federal Trade Commission to probe the effects of these laws. The E-Verify system has proven to be a regulatory obstacle for businesses. The threat of license revocation burdened business-owners with costly employee verification hurdles. Employers scaled back legal hiring, moved out of Arizona or turned to the informal economy. The effects of SB 1070 were to drive some unauthorized immigrants from the state thereby lowering Arizona's population, restricting the labor market, accelerating residential property price declines and exacerbating "the Great Recession in Arizona." (Denzil Mohammed)

The States of Immigration,
William & Mary Law Review, June 14, 2012, 54 pp.
In seeking to understand the recent "avalanche of state activity" on immigration-related issues, the author of this paper argues that state policy-making, both laws seeking stricter enforcement of immigration laws, e.g. Arizona SB 1070, and laws seeking leniency, e.g. in-state tuition laws, are examples of what the author calls "venue-shifting," i.e. attempts to influence the outcome of federal policy debates by incubating policy initiatives at the state and local level. The traditional view of state policymaking is that the states serve as policy laboratories or that they tailor policy to local circumstances.  However, through the long course of American history, state initiatives in immigration have been rarely enforced. "They are either enjoined or struck down, or they are not prioritized."  The author discusses two case examples to support his argument: state legislative activity leading up to the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and the Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibilities Act of 1996. State activity preceding passage of these acts "became the baseline for the federal laws that followed."  He concludes that "state laws cannot always be taken at face value; sometimes their most important function is as a means of shaping policy at the federal (or local) level."


A History and Analysis of Recent Immigrant Integration Initiatives in Five States,
Diversity Dynamics, 2012, 35 pp.
During a three-year period from 2005 to 2008, governors in five states (Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington) issues executive orders launching ambitious projects to integrate immigrants into the economic, civic, and social life of their states. This study examines the genesis of these projects, their goals, methodology, and outcomes. The study includes an analysis of the strengths and "vulnerabilities" of these projects and concludes with a series of recommendations to ensure that such projects are not "shipwrecked by the emotionally charged politics surrounding immigration." In preparing this study, the author Dr. Nicholas V. Montalto, reviewed the extant literature and interviewed key informants in the five states. This study is based on a paper presented at the International Metropolis Conference in The Hague in 2010.


The Myth of Self-Deportation: How Behavioral Economics Reveals the Fallacies behind "Attrition through Enforcement,"
Immigrant Policy Center, April, 2012, 10 pp.
This report cites research findings from cognitive psychology and behavioral economic that cast doubt on the validity of the  "attrition through enforcement" philosophy, which predicts that undocumented immigrants will "self-deport" to their home countries if sufficient enforcement pressure is applied on the state and local levels.  In states and localities where such enforcement has been tried, there is a dearth of hard evidence that self-deportation actually occurs. According  to the author Alexandra Filindra, "expected utility theory" from classical economics fails to explain the behavior of unauthorized immigrants, who "hate to lose a lot more than they like to win."  So that even if you pile up potential losses in the future, resulting from the greater risk of incarceration, deportation and loss of livelihood, immigrants are unwilling to sacrifice their past gains, including the jobs they have , the homes they may own, the networks they have developed,  and the children who have been raised and educated in the U.S.  The author concludes that "laws such as those of Arizona and Alabama...will lead to the development of a racialized, marginalized caste of people with no rights - a shameful development for a country that prides itself on its democratic and inclusive institutions."

A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the New Alabama Immigration Law,
University of Alabama, January, 2012, 9 pp.
This study seeks to determine whether the benefits of the 2011 Alabama law on immigration -- the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act -- are worth its costs.  The author discusses four types of potential benefits including (a) saving funds used to provide public benefits to unauthorized immigrants, (b) increased safety for citizens and legal residents, (c) more business, employment, and education opportunities, and (d) ensuring the integrity of various governmental programs.  These factors are analyzed against potential costs including (a) implementation, enforcement, and litigation expenses, (b) increased costs and inconveniences for citizens, other legal residents, and businesses, (c) fewer economic development opportunities, and (d) the economic impact of reduced aggregate demand due to population loss.  The analysis suggests that anticipated benefits across all four categories are minor compared to projected costs, and that many of the benefits may not even be realized.  The author gives special consideration to the impact of reduced aggregate demand, as aggregate demand serves as the basis for economic growth.  For FY 2012, the author gives high-end estimates of $5.8 billion dollar loss in individual earnings, $10.8 billion dollar loss in state Gross Domestic Product, $264.5 million dollar loss in state income and sales taxes, and $93.1 million dollar loss in local sales tax.  Although "the law is well-intentioned," the reduction in aggregate demand alone seems to negate the potential benefits of the law. (Patricia Lundgren)

One Year Later:  A Look at SB 1070 and Copycat Legislation,
National Council of La Raza, April 18, 2011, 15 pp.
Since Arizona SB 1070 was signed into law on April 23, 2010, attempts to pass similar legislation in many states appear to have stalled.  This report analyzes the forces that have slowed the advance of this type of legislation. So far in 2011, eleven of 24 states considering copycat legislation have defeated such bills or denied them consideration. In several states, cost factors seemed to have weighed heavily on legislators' minds. In Kentucky, for example, the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission issued a fiscal impact statement estimating the cost of implementation at $89 million per year. In other states, the business community exerted pressure on state legislators, contending that key industries, such as agriculture in Georgia and ranching in Utah, would lose workers and suffer huge losses.

Lessons from the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act,
Public Policy Institute of California, March, 2011,
29 pp
In 2007, Arizona passed the legal Arizona Worker Act (LAWA), which requires employers to use E-Verify, a national identity and work authorization verification system. This study examines the labor market impacts of this law, through comparisons with neighboring states without such legislation. The study attempts to control for the impact of the recession. The researchers find that the law had both intended and unintended consequences. On the one hand, it reduced the number of unauthorized workers in the state by about 92,000, or 17% - the stated goal of the legislation. On the other, it increased the self-employment rate by about 8%, or a "LAWA-induced increase" of roughly 25,000 self-employed Hispanic non-citizens - the demographic group with the largest numbers of unauthorized workers. These "findings raise questions about the unintended effect of LAWA in expanding underground economies." The authors speculate that an E-Verify mandate for the entire country -- reducing options for interstate migration -- would lead not only to reduced illegal migration into the country and increased emigration, but also to a marked shift toward less formal employment.

Annual Report to the People of New Jersey,
New Jersey Commission on New Americans, December, 2010, 10 pp.
Established by executive order on January 12, 2010, the New Jersey Commission on New Americans is obligated to report annually to the governor and legislature. This is the first report of the Commission. Each of the Commissions four committees: education, labor and workforce development, social services and health care, and immigrant integration, were asked to make recommendations that could be implemented at "no cost or low cost." The report concludes with seven major recommendations, two of which pertain to the role of One-Stop Career Centers in New Jersey. 

A Case Study of Color-Blindness:  The Racially Disparate Impacts of Arizona's SB 1070 and the Failure of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,
University of California, Davis, Legal Studies Research Paper Series, October, 2010, 42 pp.
This paper argues that the use of "race-neutral" language in the immigration debate, i.e. terms like "illegal alien" and "what part of illegal do you not understand?" cloaks the racist intent, or at the very least "disparate racial impact," of measures like Arizona SB 1070. As it is no longer socially acceptable in the United States to voice overtly racist views, the "coded" discourse on immigration advances the same racist agenda and explains the passion and vitriol that surround the immigration issue. "One might even view the enforcement of the U.S. immigration laws as a facially neutral - and thus presumably legal and legitimate - form of racial discrimination."  The author also comments on the racial impact of the failure of comprehensive immigration reform over the last decade. Inaction on federal immigration legislation allows for "the maintenance of a racial caste of undocumented immigrants...denied the fundamental protections available to other workers under federal labor, and...subject to continued exploitation in the workplace."


Rising to the Immigrant Integration Challenge: What States are Doing - and Can Do,
National Governors Association (NGA), Center for Best Practices, November 4, 2009, 19 pp

Noting that many governors are beginning to realize "that states can facilitate successful (immigrant) integration" and thereby bring about "tremendous economic and social benefit" to their states," this report reviews some recent steps that states have taken to pursue this goal, including innovations in cross-departmental leadership, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and English and citizenship education. The report concludes with some specific strategies that seem to hold the greatest promise of success, including: raising the visibility of immigrant integration as an issue; gathering good data to inform policy development; maximizing partnerships with local government, nonprofits, and the private sector; facilitating government access and collaboration; and designing an effective communication strategy.


A Plan for Today, A Plan for Tomorrow:  Building a Stronger Washington through Immigrant Integration
A Year One Report from the Washington New Americans Policy Council, October, 2009, 48 pp.
Established through an executive order issued by Governor Christine O. Gregoire in February of 2008, the 15-member Washington New Americans Policy Council was charged with developing policy recommendations on issues such as citizenship promotion, English language acquisition,  and skill recertification.  This report summarizes the Council's nine key recommendations, which include a three-year "We Want to Learn English" campaign; public funding and employer incentives to promote naturalization; strategies to provide "one stop" information to immigrants; issuance of a language access executive order requiring all state agencies to assess their effectiveness in reaching and serving language minorities, with oversight and technical assistance provided by an Office of Language Access;  strategies for career re-entry for immigrant and refugee professionals, including a review of licensing board procedures; trust-building measures with law enforcement agencies; and public celebrations of immigrant contributions to the state. A final recommendation asks the Governor to continue the Policy Council for at least one more year "to work with state agencies to implement year one srecommendation" and to address other important issues which the Council did not have sufficient time to consider.


Massachusetts New Americans Agenda,
The Governor's Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants (GACRI), October 1, 2009, 54 pp.
Made up of 30 people representing 11 state agencies and 19 community groups or constituencies, GACRI was created by executive order of Governor Deval Patrick on July 9, 2008 and charged with developing "a comprehensive and strategic statewide approach to successfully integrate (the state's)  immigrant and refugee populations..."  The New Americans Agenda contains 131 recommendations in 12 topical areas: civil rights, adult English language proficiency, economic development, education, public safety, employment and workforce development, access to state services, citizenship assistance, health, refugees, youth, and housing and community development.  The publication of the Agenda constitutes the "first phase" of an expected, long-term process of state government reform. Upon receipt of the Agenda, the Governor appointed a special 15-member interagency work group to develop implementation plans within 90 days. Coordination and support for plan implementation will be provided by the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (MORI).


A Fresh Start: Renewing Immigrant Integration for a Stronger Maryland,
The Report of the Maryland Council for New Americans, August, 2009, 65 pp
In December of 2008, the Governor of Maryland created by executive order the Maryland Council for New Americans and charged it with producing a report that would "review and recommend new policies and practices to expedite immigrant integration into the economic and civic life of the State." The Council's report contains 15 "general recommendation" in four broad areas: workforce, citizenship, financial services, and governmental access. A series of "best practice" vignettes are scattered throughout the document. The Council considers its "primary recommendation" to be the establishment of a Cabinet-level Office for New Americans "empowered to oversee implementation of reform and compliance in coordination with the Governor's priorities."

Report to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine,
The Governor's Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Immigrant Policy, March, 2009, 119 pp.
On August 6, 2007, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed an executive order creating a Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Immigrant Policy charged with making "recommendations for a comprehensive and strategic statewide approach to successfully integrate the rapidly growing immigrant population in New Jersey." Over the course of 18 months, the panel, consisting of 34 members (seven representatives of state departments, 25 public members, and two legislators) studied a broad range of issues, considered testimony at three public hearings, and produced a report with 98 recommendations in four broad topical areas: social services, labor and workforce issues, education, and state and local government. The panel also published an executive summary and appendices in separate files.  The appendices are more than 300 pages in length and include a study on in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and a proposal for the creation of a Governor's Commission on New Americans. In addition, transcripts of the testimony delivered at the three public hearings are available on the web site of the New Jersey Department of the Public Advocate.


Handbook on How to Implement a One-Stop-Shop for Immigrant Integration,
European Commission, Directorate-General Justice Freedom and Security, February, 2009, 96 pp.
In 2004, the Portuguese government opened two "National Immigrant Support Centers," in the cities of Lisbon and Porto, in an effort to implement a "one-stop-shop," or "welcome center" approach to immigrant integration. In 2007, the European Commission funded the development of an international network to assess the Portuguese model and "to examine the feasibility of its implementation in other EU member states."  This Handbook presents the results of this study. In general, the handbook speaks glowingly of the model, although acknowledging the need to adapt it to local circumstances. The report covers such issues as the out-stationing of government employees at the centers, the role of "cultural mediators" and immigrant organizations in center operations, and the financial and human resources necessary for implementation.


Final Report, Governor's Commission on Immigration,
State of Virginia, January, 2009, 26 pp + appendices.
Created in 2007 by the Virginia Assembly, the 20-member Virginia Commission on Immigration was charged with examining the impact of immigration on the state educational system, health care, law enforcement, service accessibility, and the economy. The Commission's final report contains 24 recommendations, half of which are directed to the federal government and half to state government. Among the state government recommendations are: shortening the Medicaid eligibility requirement for legal immigrants, charging in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants, establishing an "office of immigrant assistance services," and developing a comprehensive state plan "to address the needs of the foreign-born population in a consistent/uniform manner."

 
Report of the Task Force on the Preservation of Heritage Language Skills in Maryland,
Submitted to the Governor and Maryland General Assembly, January 1, 2009, 56 pp.
Created by the Governor of Maryland in 2008 and motivated by the belief that the preservation of immigrant languages will "maintain America's competitive edge in such vital sectors as trade and national security," this task force presented a series of nine "feasible and cost-effective" recommendations to preserve and develop the language skills of Maryland's residents. Among the recommendations were: the awarding of high school credit by exam for students who attend non-public heritage schools, the enhancement of library collections of children's literature in heritage languages, and the development of more dual language programs in the public schools. This task force may be the first state-sponsosred task force on heritage languages ever established in the United States.

 
State Laws Related to Immigrants and Immigration in 2008,
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Immigrant Policy Project, January, 2009, 32 pp.
NCSL conducts an annual inventory of state legislation addressing immigration issues. With 1305 pieces of legislation introduced in 2008, of which 206 were enacted in 41 states, the 2008 inventory found a small reduction in the level of activity compared to 2007. Although some states continue to be focused on punitive approaches, e.g. imposing sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized workers and/or mandating that employers participate in the E-Verify program (Mississippi, Virginia), other states are adopting integrative approaches, including a California law to use monetary fines imposed upon perpetrators of domestic violence to fund domestic violence prevention programs in immigrant communities, a Connecticut law creating an Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission to develop new programs promoting service access, a Maryland law creating a Task Force on the Preservation of Heritage Language Skills, a Missouri law providing funding for naturalization assistance, and an Ohio act creating an African immigrants Commission.


The Anti-Immigrant Movement that Failed:
Positive Integration Policies by State Government Still Far Outweigh Punitive Policies Aimed at New Immigrants,
Progressive States Network, Sept., 2008, 24 pp.
 Using a six category system to rank states from "punitive" to "integrative" in their policies towards immigrants, this report finds that integrative state policies are much more common than media coverage would suggest. Seven states are classified as "integrative," and ten, including New Jersey, as "somewhat integrative." The report features a state-by-state policy assessment.

 
For the Benefit of All: Strategic Recommendations to Enhance the State's Role in the Integration of Immigrants in Illinois,
Report of the New Americans Policy Council, Year Two, June, 2008, 34 pp.
On November 19, 2005, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the new Americans Executive Order, an attempt to adopt a coherent, strategic, and proactive state government approach to integrate the rapidly growing immigrant population of Illinois. The Executive Order created a New Americans Policy Council comprised of prominent Illinois business, faith, labor, community, philanthropic and governmental leaders. This report, covering the issues of housing, police-community relations, and economic development/entrepreneurship, is the second and final report of the Council.


Managing Diversity in Corporate America:  An Exploratory Analysis,
The Rand Corporation, 2008, 26 pp.
This paper challenges the "cookbook" approach to diversity management and argues that the benefits of diversity will be realized only when corporate leaders address the larger issue of organizational change. The paper has implications for state and local officials seeking to create more inclusive and effective governmental administrations. As an engine of diversity, immigration should be seen as part of the context in which modern organizations, both public and private, operate.


Selected Testimony to the New Jersey Governor's Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Immigrant Policy,
2008, 15 pp.
Formed by executive order in August, 2007, the panel is charged with developing recommendations for a comprehensive and strategic statewide approach to successfully integrate New Jersey's rapidly growing immigrant population, including consideration of such issues as: civil rights, citizenship status, education, employment/workforce training, fair housing, healthcare, language proficiency and other key areas as identified by the Panel.


State Immigration Project:  Policy Options for 2008,
Progressive States Network, December, 2007, 23 pp.
Seeking to mobilize "forward-thinking state policymakers, legislative staff, and non-profit organizations," to achieve attainable reform in the immigration arena, the Progressive States Network developed this platform for common action on the state level. The platform includes four major elements: strengthening wage law enforcement, promoting naturalization and other integration policies, designing smart policing policies, and counteracting misinformation about unauthorized voting and the use of public benefits by undocumented immigrants.

 
Pro-Immigrant Measures Available to State or Local Governments: A Quick Menu of Affirmative Ideas,
National Immigration Law Center, September, 2007, 6 pp.
This is a list of 71 policy recommendations designed to "more effective incorporate immigrants into their communities."  Many of them have been successfully implemented in communities around the country.


Marshaling Every Resource:  State and Local Responses to Human Trafficking,
Policy Research Institute for the Region (Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University) and the Vera Institute of Justice, 2007, 76 pp.
This document is a collection of three essays analyzing state and local initiatives to combat human trafficking.  The authors compare and contrast the approaches taken by the 24 states, including New Jersey, that had passed legislation on trafficking as of October, 2006. One essay examines the role of advocacy groups in shaping policy reform. The appendix includes a summary of discussions that took place at a conference on trafficking on December 1, 2006.

For the Benefit of All: Strategic Recommendations to Enhance the State's Role in the Integration of Immigrants in Illinois,
Report of the New Americans Policy Council, Year One, December, 2006, 28 pp.
On November 19, 2005, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the new Americans Executive Order, an attempt to adopt a coherent, strategic, and proactive state government approach to integrate the rapidly growing immigrant population of Illinois. The Executive Order created a New Americans Policy Council comprised of prominent Illinois business, faith, labor, community, philanthropic and governmental leaders. This report, covering the issues of citizenship, education, human services and health care, is the first report of the Council.


Immigrant Integration: Improving Policy for Education, Health and Human Services for Illinois' Immigrants and Refugees,
New Americans Interagency Task Force Report, December, 2006, 42 pp. (INACTIVE LINK)
This report summarizes recommendations developed by an Interagency Task Force convened by the Office of New Americans Policy and Advocacy in the State of Illinois. The Task Force developed seven recommendations to enable immigrants to access services, contribute to their communities and enhance their lives and the lives of those around them.


Out of the Many, One:  Integrating Immigrants in New Jersey,
National Immigration Forum, 2006, 64 pp.
Produced by Diversity Dynamics in collaboration with the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, this report constitutes a blueprint for a comprehensive immigrant integration agenda in the State of New Jersey. It contains 51 recommendations and covers topics as wide-ranging as education, training and employment, health care, language access, police-community relations, and immigrant civic participation.

Acclimation of Virginia's Foreign-Born Population,
Report of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, Commonwealth of Virginia, 2004, 104 pp + appendices
This is a comprehensive report on Virginia's foreign-born population with special attention to best practices and opportunities for state and local initiatives to promote immigrant integration. Commission staff found that the state's immigrants have three primary needs: access to English learning opportunities, access to information and services in native languages, and access to affordable health care.


Latinos and the State of New Jersey: A promising Partnership for a Better Future,
Hispanic Advisory Council, 2003 Policy Report, Submitted to Governor James E. McGreevey, October 27, 2003, 31 pp.

Pursuant to a governor's executive order, a 14-member council was established to provide guidance to the administration in serving New Jersey's burgeoning Latino population. Three sub-committees (economic development, education, and health) produced a series of recommendation for consideration by the state.


We the People:  Helping Newcomers Become Californians,
State of California, Little Hoover Commission, June, 2002, 92 pp.
A bipartisan, independent state body, the Little Hoover Commission called for a "coherent strategy for accelerating the integration of immigrants into the economy and their communities."  Recognizing the challenge presented by the state's 2 million undocumented immigrants, the commission's report moves beyond the distinction between legal and illegal immigration, and in its place, introduces the more practical distinction between responsible and irresponsible community members. The report then goes on to outline the responsibilities of immigrants to the larger community, and the responsibilities of the larger community towards immigrants.

Links
Immigrants and State Government
(For link descriptions, go to Links page)

State Offices Promoting
Immigrant Integration

(California) Bilingual Services Program

California Office of Immigration Assistance

(Hawaii) Office of Language Access

Illinois Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services

Maryland Office for New Americans

(Massachusetts) Office of Refugees and Immigrants

(New York) Bureau of Immigrant Workers' Rights

(New York) Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance

Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs

News and Opinion
Immigrants and State Government

 
States take on immigration
Politico, May 19, 2014


Immigration bills have flooded state capitols,
The Salt Lake Tribune, May 23, 2011
Valley feels loss of migrant money,
The Arizona Republic, April 23, 2011

NJ Commission on New Americans issues first annual report,
The News Transcript, January 5, 2011

 
The Boston Globe, July 22, 2010
Times of Trenton, January 23, 2010

Aug. 22, 2008

Aug. 22, 2008