Legislative leaders in at least half a dozen states say they will propose bills similar to a controversial law to fight illegal immigration that was adopted by Arizona last spring, even though a federal court has suspended central provisions of that statute.
The efforts, led by Republicans, are part of a wave of state measures coming this year aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.
Legislators have also announced measures to limit access to public colleges and other benefits for illegal immigrants and to punish employers who hire them.
Next week, at least five states plan to begin an unusual coordinated effort to cancel automatic United States citizenship for children born in this country to illegal immigrant parents.
Opponents say that effort would be unconstitutional, arguing that the power to grant citizenship resides with the federal government, not with the states. Still, the chances of passing many of these measures appear better than at any time since 2006, when many states, frustrated with inaction in Washington, began proposing initiatives to curb illegal immigration.
Republicans gained more than 690 seats in state legislatures nationwide in the November midterms, winning their strongest representation at the state level in more than 80 years.
Few people expect movement on immigration issues when Congress reconvenes next week in a divided Washington. Republicans, who will control the House of Representatives, do not support an overhaul of immigration laws that President Obama has promised to continue to push. State lawmakers say it has fallen to them to act.
“The federal government’s failure to enforce our border has functionally turned every state into a border state,” said Randy Terrill, a Republican representative in Oklahoma who has led the drive for anti-illegal immigration laws there. “This is federalism in action,” he said. “The states are stepping in and filling the void left by the federal government.”
Saturday, January 1, 2011
States and Illegal Immigration: "Federalism in Action"
The New York Times reports: