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States passing fewer immigration laws than last year: report

A study [text, PDF] that was released [press release] on Monday revealed that US state legislatures have passed fewer laws related to immigrants and refugees than last year. The National Conference of State Legislatures [organization website] documented that 41 states passed 114 bills and adopted 92 resolution concerning the area in the first six months of this year, 20 percent lower compared to last year. The cause for this trend is believed to be the shift in legislators' priorities toward state budget gaps and redistricting maps. It was also noted that pending litigation related to states' authority to enforce immigration laws contributed to the lower number. One of the cases documented in the study was Arizona v. United States [SCOTUSblog backgrounder]. In June the US Supreme Court [official website] upheld [JURIST report] only one of the four sections of Arizona's controversial immigration law [SB 1070 materials; JURIST news archive]. The upheld section 2(b) requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone whom they arrest and allows police to stop and arrest anyone whom they believe to be an illegal immigrant.

Various immigration laws are currently facing judicial review in courts across the country. In early July Georgia argued [JURIST report] before the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] that its immigration law is constitutional based on the ruling in Arizona v. United States. The Eleventh Circuit court had deferred [JURIST report] the ruling on Alabama [HB 56, PDF; JURIST report] and Georgia [HB 87 text; JURIST report] immigration laws until a decision was made by the Supreme Court in the Arizona immigration law case. Similar legislation has passed in Utah, South Carolina and Indiana [JURIST reports].

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