States Crackdown on Immigration

Daily News Article   —   Posted on May 16, 2011

(from YahooNews.com) (Reuters) – Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Friday signed a bill cracking down on illegal immigrants, which was inspired by a tougher measure passed by Arizona last year.

The law allows police to investigate the immigration status of those suspected of committing state or federal crimes.

It also requires many private employers to check the immigration status of newly hired workers on a federal database called E-Verify, and makes transporting and harboring illegal immigrants a state crime.

Several other states have in recent months pushed immigration laws similar to the Arizona law signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in April 2010.

States are acting because they said the federal government has failed to [secure the borders and enforce federal laws on illegal immigration].

Following are facts on some of the state measures, and their current status.

* Alabama – The House and Senate voted through versions of an Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigration last month that would give state and local police broad powers to check the immigration status of people detained on other charges and require state employers to run checks on new workers through a federal computer database. The Senate bill now returns to the House to be approved, amended or merged.

* Arizona – Governor Brewer signed a law in April 2010 including a measure requiring police to determine the immigration status of those they have detained and suspect are in the country illegally. Key parts were blocked by a federal judge, after the Obama administration sued arguing that it improperly meddled in federal issues. Last month a U.S. appeals court agreed with the decision to block the law. Brewer this week said she would petition the U.S. Supreme Court to lift the injunction.

* Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Senate approved a bill that would create criminal penalties for undocumented immigrants who work in Oklahoma and those who smuggle them into the state. It would also give police officers more authority to question the citizenship status of suspects. Local police officers trained through a federal program would be authorized to ask about immigration status. The House has also approved a version of the bill, and the two chambers must reconcile differences before it could go to Republican Governor Mary Fallin.

* South Carolina – The Senate passed a bill in March allowing police to determine whether a person is in the country legally, but only after they have been stopped on suspicion of another crime. A House committee is considering a version of the bill.

* Texas – The Texas House of Representatives has approved a measure that would crack down on cities that provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants. The measure would prohibit local governments from banning law enforcement officers asking about the immigration status of people who are lawfully detained or arrested. Republican Governor Rick Perry designated the measure as one of his emergency priorities for the legislative session. The bill is now in the Senate. But Perry has said that an Arizona-style law is not the right approach for Texas.

* Utah – Republican Governor Gary Herbert signed a two-pronged package of immigration laws in March comprised of four bills he called “the Utah solution,” including an enforcement measure and another that would create a guest-worker program. On the day it took effect this week a federal judge temporary blocked the law.

* Arizona-style laws have been rejected or failed to advance during the 2011 legislative session in California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming.

(Sources: Reuters; National Immigration Forum and the National Conference of State Legislatures)

(Compiled by Tim Gaynor in Phoenix; Edited by Greg McCune)

Copyright ©2011 Rueters. All rights reserved. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. The information contained in this Reuters News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Reuters. Visit news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110513/us_nm/us_immigration_states_factbox for the original post.

Questions

1. List the provisions included in Georgia’s new law on illegal immigration.

2. Why are states passing their own laws on illegal immigration?

3. a) List the states that have passed, or are close to passing, an Arizona-style law on illegal immigration.
b) There is a provision included in each of these laws that allows police to check the immigration status of someone they have detained or arrested for illegal activities who they think might be in the country illegally. Opponents say police should not be permitted to ask for proof of citizenship from those who are detained or arrested for breaking the law because police might unfairly profile people from Latin American countries. Do you think this is a good provision to include? Explain your answer.

4. List the states where Arizona-style laws on illegal immigration have not advanced through the legislature, or that have failed, in 2011.

5. a) Do you think the federal government has adequately secured our borders? Explain your answer.
b) Do you think states should pass their own laws on illegal immigration if voters feel the federal government has not done an adequate job? Explain your answer.

6. Federal law says that any [illegal immigrant] who:

  • enters or attempts to enter the U.S. at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers,
  • eludes examination by immigration officers, or
  • attempts to enter or obtains entry to the U.S. by a willfully false or misleading representation

is guilty of improper entry. For the first commission of the offense, the person is fined, imprisoned up to six months, or both, and for a subsequent offense, is fined, imprisoned up to 2 years, or both (8 U.S.C. § 1325).
Should the federal government uphold this law, or continue to refuse to fully enforce it because some do not like the law? Explain your answer.


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