While Congress languishes on agreement to comprehensive immigration reform, a pro-immigration movement is sweeping the individual states. According to NCSL report for 2013, 184 laws were enacted and 253 resolutions adopted, for a total of 437. This number is significant as it is a 64 percent increase from the resolutions enacted in 2012 and an 18% increase in laws ratified.
In 2013 there was expansion in in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants in Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey and Oregon. This brings a total of 15 states that now offer in-state tuition. California sanctioned the state Supreme Court to admit applicants who are not documented to the practice of law. As well permitting driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, and the prohibition for notaries public from the practice of law by calling themselves immigration consultants.
Driver’s licenses and IDs persistent as a principal issue for states, with a total of 35 laws passed in 21 states. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont accorded driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Ann Morse, author of the NCSL report opined that “We seem to go through these waves of different kinds of legislation,” The emphasis on driver’s licenses “reflects the changing attitude in America about young immigrants who are here without making the choice to be here.”
In New York, politicians and community leaders are occupied in a concerted effort to ease the immigrants’ difficult condition by permitting the undocumented to legally apply for a driver’s license.
“A driver’s license will provide undocumented immigrants much more employment flexibility,” stated state Sen. José Peralta who, accompanied by Sen. Adriano Espaillat and with the backing of Make the Road New York and other community groups, introduced legislation last October to allow undocumented New Yorkers the right to driver’s licenses.
The federal government seems to be cruising towards a comprehensive immigration reform, sooner than late. Two women in what appears to be diametrically opposed political position are coming together to the rescue. Esther Olavarria, a Democrat, who as a child immigrated from Cuba, functioned as Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s principal immigration lawyer and now holds a position in the White House. Rebecca Tallent, a Republican from Arizona and was Senator John McCain’s chief of staff and worked on immigration reform in 2006, has recently taken the position as policy advisor to Speaker of the House, John A. Boehner..
Well it seems that we are in for a wild political ride as the battle over immigration reform as it takes center stage sometime in 2014.
Source: NCSL Report