State Immigration Laws Surge In 2013

Mounted police are positioned in front of the Arizona Senate building at the Arizona Capitol, as thousands of protesters atte
Mounted police are positioned in front of the Arizona Senate building at the Arizona Capitol, as thousands of protesters attend a rally nearby voicing their displeasure on Sunday, April, 25, 2010, over the Friday bill signing of SB1070 by the Arizona governor, in Phoenix. The sweeping measure makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally, and would require local law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

By Lisa Maria Garza

Sept 11 (Reuters) - The number of immigration-related laws passed by U.S. states rebounded sharply in the first half of this year, spurred in part by a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration crackdown, according to a report released Wednesday.

The National Conference of State Legislatures said lawmakers in 43 states and the District of Columbia enacted 146 laws and 231 resolutions related to immigration, an 83 percent increase from the 206 laws and resolutions enacted in first half 2012.

The surge followed a decision by the Supreme Court in June last year that supported the 2010 Arizona immigration law's most controversial aspect - requiring police to check the immigration status of people they stop. The ruling tossed three of the law's other provisions.

Also contributing to the increase was the government's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program last year that granted temporary legal status to some young undocumented immigrants, the report said.

"The U.S. Supreme Court decision and DACA policy seemed to spur states back into action in 2013," the National Conference of State Legislatures noted in a news release.

Laws on identification documents topped the activity, with 20 states passing 34 measures. Many defined eligibility for state-issued identification and driver's licenses, the report said.

After the DACA program, lawmakers in 14 states enacted laws that allowed undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition.

Other laws passed by states included authorizing funds for immigration enforcement, English language and citizenship classes, and migrant and refugee programs, the report said. (Editing by Tim Gaynor and Mohammad Zargham)



Controversial Immigration Laws