A Nation in Chaos
Awaiting the Supreme Court's Ruling (Updated June 25, 2012)


Alabama legislators passed H.B. 56, currently the nation’s toughest immigration law, in June 2011. Though a federal court has put a temporary hold on many of the most severe provisions of the law, an Alabama district judge allowed some extreme measures to go into effect this past fall, causing much damage to the state’s economy, society, and repu- tation. If the Supreme Court allows Arizona’s S.B. 1070 to go into effect, it will essen- tially authorize the implementation of many provisions of H.B. 56.


Alaska’s H.B. 3, introduced in 2011, would require those applying for a driver’s license show proof of legal residency in Alaska. The bill has passed in the State House.


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070, the most restrictive piece of immigrant legislation our country had ever seen, in April 2010. The federal district and appeals courts concurred with the U.S. Department of Justice that provisions in S.B. 1070 were pre-empted by federal law and temporarily blocked those provisions from going into effect. Arizona appealed those decisions to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in the case on April 25, 2012. The state of Arizona has also enacted a law that bans undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition.


Arkansas Republican legislators introduced H.B. 1292 in 2011, a bill that would prohibit undocumented immigrants from accessing government services except in life-threatening emergencies. The bill was rejected in the House Committee. H.B. 1428 was enacted in March 2011, mandating that a person eligible for child-only health insurance benefits be able to prove they are an authorized immigrant.


California’s DREAM Act, passed in 2011, allows undocumented students to compete for private scholarships and grants, and to pay in-state tuition. The state also prohibits cities and counties from enacting their own laws requiring employers to use E-Verify and restricts police from impounding the vehicles of unauthorized immigrants whose only offense is their lack of a driver’s license.


In 2011, Colorado Representative Randy Baumgardner withdrew his own Arizona style bill from consideration. The Colorado legislature enacted a law banning undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition in 2008. But S.B. 15, a tuition-equity bill, has passed in the Senate and moved to the State House for consideration where passage seems likely.


Connecticut passed a bill in 2011 to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.


Mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order in 2011 prohibiting D.C. police from checking immigration status during routine business checks or arrests.


In 2011 the Delaware State Senate passed S.B. 15 to make E-Verify mandatory for all workers in the state. The House did not act on the measure.


Florida’s state legislature rejected H.B. 7089 and S.B. 2040 in 2011. Similar to Arizona’s S.B. 1070, the proposed bills would have required police to check the immigration status of those they “reasonably suspect” are in the country without legal status and would have required employers to use E-Verify. Currently, the immigration status of a student’s parents—regardless of the student’s own status—determines whether the student can receive in-state tuition rates. In March 2012 the Florida’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted against S.B. 106, a bill that would have allowed undocumented students and stu- dents with unauthorized parents to pay in-state tuition.


Georgia enacted H.B. 87 in April 2011. The law, which mirrors Arizona’s S.B. 1070, has already caused severe labor shortages, as workers and their families avoid the unwelcom- ing state. Key provisions of the law were blocked by a federal judge and the state has appealed the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, whose judges have said they are awaiting the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in the AZ v. U.S. case before decid- ing whether the injunction should remain in place. Georgia’s state legislature has also enacted a law that bans undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition. S.B. 458, a bill that would ban Georgia’s undocumented students from attending public colleges, as well as prevent undocumented residents from getting marriage licenses and having access to water and sewage services, has cleared both the Georgia Senate and House committees.


In March 2012 Hawaii state senators introduced a state version of the DREAM Act, which would grant in-state tuition to eligible undocumented students and allow these students to apply for state-funded financial aid.


In December 2006 Gov. Jim Risch (R) issued an executive order requiring all state agencies to use E-Verify. In May 2009 Gov. Butch Otter (R) signed a similar order. In March 2010 S.B. 1217, a bill that would have increased the penalties for using false documentation, passed out of committee but was never voted on in the full Senate.


The Illinois legislature enacted legislation that permits undocumented students to pay in-state tuition in 2003. As of 2011 qualifying students can also compete for private scholarships in the state. The state legislature also created privacy and antidiscrimination protections for workers if their E-Verify-participating employers are not following the program’s procedures.


In May 2011 Indiana’s governor signed S.B. 590, an Arizona copycat, into law. S.B. 590 authorizes law enforcement to arrest any person ordered to be deported by an immigration court, outlaws the use of consular ID cards as valid forms of identification, prohibits day labor employment, bars undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition, and requires employers to use E-Verify. A district court judge enjoined the first two provisions of the law in June of 2011. This year, a Republican member of the Indiana State Senate has included an amendment in H.B. 1326, an education bill, to restore instate tuition for qualifying students.


Although two anti-immigration bills, H.F. 27 and S.F. 102, failed to emerge from com- mittee in 2011, a mandatory E-Verify bill has been introduced this year and approved by a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.


Kansas state legislators introduced H.B. 2372, an Arizona copycat bill, in 2011. The legislation did not gain sufficient traction to get out of the House Committee, but Kansas legislators are trying again in 2012. The state’s agriculture secretary has asked for a federal waiver that would allow companies to hire undocumented immigrants. In 2004 Kansas enacted an in-state tuition law. A repeal effort has been underway since 2011, though it has not been successful in the State Senate.


In 2011 an Arizona copycat bill, S.B. 6, passed the Senate but was rejected by the House Local Government Committee after a fiscal-impact statement estimated that the bill would cost Kentucky $89 million per year. In March 2012 the Kentucky Senate passed S.B. 118, a proposal that would bar undocumented immigrants in the state from receiv- ing welfare benefits.


A Louisiana legislator introduced his own Arizona-style bill in the summer of 2011 but withdrew the bill from consideration when a fiscal note revealed H.B. 411 would cost the state $11 million. Two separate state laws require state contractors to use E-Verify and make it optional for private employers to use the status-verification system.


In 2011 an Arizona copycat law, L.D. 1496, was withdrawn by its sponsor before making it through the committee process.


Maryland became the 10th state to offer in-state tuition to qualifying undocumented students in April 2011. But the law was successfully petitioned to a statewide referen- dum, and until voters decide the fate of the law in November, in-state tuition for these students is on hold.


S.B. 2061—a bill that would require police to run immigration status checks for those arrested, would implement the Secure Communities program across the state, would mandate that proof of citizenship be presented before immigrants can access subsidized housing and other services, and would increase penalties for those driving without a license and employers who hire undocumented workers—is being reviewed by the Massachusetts State House.


H.B. 4305, introduced in 2011, would require police and state agencies to check the immigration status of everyone stopped for an offense and people they suspect of being in the country without papers. The bill was mothballed in June 2011 when Gov. Rick Snyder (R) forcefully came out against all anti-immigrant legislation. H.B. 4355, which would require state and local government agencies to use E-Verify, has been introduced every year since 2005 but has never made it out of committee.


H.F. 3830, an Arizona-style bill, was introduced in 2010 but the bill was buried. H.F. 358, which would force cooperation between law enforcement agencies and immigra- tion enforcement agencies, was introduced in the Minnesota House in 2011. The bill was revived in March 2012.


The Mississippi House passed H.B. 488, a punitive anti-immigration law, in March 2012, but the bill died in the state Senate in April 2012. Mississippi legislators learned from the legal challenges brought against Alabama, and designed the law to circumvent such challenges by leaving out provisions such as H.B. 56’s requirement to verify the legal status of students and their parents before they are enrolled in public schools. The state’s senate and governor are likely to support the bill. A law enacted in 2008 requires all employers, both public and private, to use E-Verify by July 2011.


Missouri’s S.B. 590, an Alabama H.B. 56 copycat, requires police to determine the immigration status of people they reasonably suspect are unauthorized, makes it a mis- demeanor to not carry papers, and requires parents to present proof of citizenship when enrolling their children in school. This anti-immigration omnibus passed out of the Senate General Laws Committee in January. H.B. 1549, a law enacted in 2008, requires public employers, contractors, and subcontractors to use E-Verify.


In April of 2011 Montana’s governor signed H.B. 178, a bill requiring state DMVs to electronically verify the legal presence of immigrants before issuing a Montana driver’s license or ID card, into law. A referendum (N.121) will be held in November 2012 to determine if Montana residents should be required to show proof of citizenship to receive state services. A bill to deny workers’ compensation to undocumented workers stalled in the Montana Senate committee in 2011 after passing in the Montana House.


In 2011 an Arizona copycat bill, L.B. 48, did not make it out of committee. The state began granting in-state tuition to its qualifying undocumented students in 2006. Efforts to repeal the law began in 2010 but none has been successful. In 2009 Nebraska passed a law making E-Verify mandatory for all state and local governments and contractors.


In 2010 the Nevada Assembly tried to have a referendum on an Arizona-style law, but the “Nevada Immigration Reform Initiative” failed to get on the ballot after the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups filed a lawsuit to block the proposed initiative.

New Hampshire

H.B. 1494, an Arizona-style bill was introduced in February 2012, but the bill did not make it out of committee. A similar bill also failed to get out committee in 2011.

New Jersey

Legislation that would have allowed qualifying unauthorized students to pay in-state tuition in New Jersey failed to garner enough support from state legislators in 2010.

New Mexico

Similar to Washington State, New Mexico allows eligible undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses. Gov. Susana Martinez (R) is fighting to get the 2003 driver’s license law overturned, and H.B. 103, the repealing bill, passed in the State House in February 2012. The New Mexico Senate is expected to once again stop the bill in its tracks. The state legislature also passed an in-state tuition bill in 2005, but undocu- mented students are not eligible for financial aid under the law.

New York

New York enacted a law that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges in 2002. The New York DREAM Act, S. 4179, was introduced in 2011. The bill would allow qualifying undocumented students to apply for financial aid.

North Carolina

The General Assembly of North Carolina considered and rejected S.B. 1070-style bills in the past two sessions. In 2011 a bill requiring all businesses with more than 25 employees to use E-Verify by 2013 became law. A recently formed House Select Committee on the State’s Role in Immigration Policy has met a handful of times since its inception in December 2011 and is considering how to strengthen existing laws against undocumented immigrants.

North Dakota

No action on immigration.


In Ohio a referendum for an Arizona-style law, the “Ohio Immigration Reform Initiative,” lacked the support to make the ballot.


Despite repeated attempts to pass additional immigration legislation, lawmakers have failed to pass an Arizona-style law. In 2007, Oklahoma passed H.B. 1804, which was at the time the most anti-immigrant bill in the nation. H.B. 1804 includes provisions requiring public employers, contractors, and subcontractors to participate in E-Verify.


No action on immigration.


Pennsylvania legislators attempted to pass H.B. 738, an Arizona copycat bill, in 2011, as well as bills to restrict birthright citizenship and make E-Verify mandatory. In 2006 the state enacted a law that provides safe harbor to employers enrolled in the E-Verify program from state penalties.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island enacted a law that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges in 2011. In 2010 an Arizona-style bill was tabled after the House speaker opposed it.

South Carolina

South Carolina’s anti-immigrant law passed in June 2011, though a federal judge blocked the most controversial aspects of the law before it took effect in January 2012. The state currently prohibits undocumented students from enrolling in South Carolina public col- leges and universities. A 2008 law requires public employers and contractors to use the E-Verify system, the federal government’s error-prone work-eligibility system.

South Dakota

In February 2012, the House State Affairs Committee rejected H.B. 1198, an Arizona- style bill.


Republican legislators in Tennessee have introduced a number of anti-immigrant laws in 2012. Among them is H.B. 2191, a bill that makes it a felony to transport or harbor an undocumented immigrant. The Tennessee state House advanced an Arizona style bill in 2011 until a fiscal note revealed the prohibitively high costs of the legislation. In 2011 a bill was signed into law that requires most employers to check the immigration status of their employees through the E-Verify system. Currently, individual systems can decide whether to allow unauthorized immigrants to attend public colleges and pay in-state tuition.


In 2011 the Texas Senate passed S.B. 9 during a special session, a law that would abolish “sanctuary cities,” would mandate Secure Communities, and would require Department of Transportation employees to inquire about legal status before issuing a driver’s license. The special session ended and the House version of the bill was left pending in a House Committee. That same year, Texas Rep. Debbie Riddle (R) introduced H.B. 17, a bill that would criminalize the presence of undocumented immigrants in the state and allow police officers to arrest them without a warrant. H.B. 17 was left pending in committee. In 2001, Texas became the first state in the nation to enact a law that allows eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.


In March 2011 a package of immigration bills were signed into law. The measure included H.B. 497, an Arizona-style enforcement bill, and H.B. 116, a bill to enable Utah to issue work permits to its undocumented residents and create a temporary worker program. A district court judge granted a temporary injunction against the Arizona-style measure two months later and extended that order in February 2012, pending the ruling by the Supreme Court. Utah has allowed qualified undocumented students to pay in-state tuition in Utah’s public colleges since 2002. Undocumented immigrants in the state can obtain a driving privileges card, but S.B. 170, a bill seeking to repeal the card, may threaten that ability.


No action on immigration.


Virginia’s H.B. 1060, a bill that would have required police to inquire about the immigra- tion status of people arrested, was defeated in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee in February 2012. A bill that would require state police to enter into 287(g) agreements, held over into 2013 by the same committee. The 287(g) program gives local govern- ment the authority to carry out federal immigration law compliance.


Similar to New Mexico, Washington state allows qualified undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Attempts to restrict access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants have failed. The state enacted an in-state tuition law in 2003.

West Virginia

No action on immigration.


A.B. 173, an Arizona-style bill that would authorize state and local police to determine the status of people stopped for violations including minor traffic offenses, was intro- duced in 2011 but it failed to gain traction.


Wyoming’s House Committee struck down a bill in the legislature that would have been an S.B. 1070 copycat.