The inflamed immigration rhetoric of the past couple of years has waned, but a report the National Conference of State Legislatures released today shows that state lawmakers still have passion for the issue.
According to the NCSL report, lawmakers in 48 state capitols enacted 222 new immigration-related laws and 131 resolutions. The only two states that didn't pass immigration measures were Alaska and Massachusetts. Even Hawaii passed a law that authorized sanctions for employers that hire undocumented workers for public projects. But not all the laws were punitive to immigrants. Wisconsin became the 11th state to allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public universities. Texas was the first in 2001. Colorado, Connecticut and Minnesota extended federal health care benefits to legal immigrant women and children.
Texas passed 14 immigration-related laws during the legislative session this year, according to NCSL. The range of new laws encompasses a variety of topics from human trafficking to education, health care and even mortgage lending. Under two of the new immigration laws in Texas, you have to be a legal resident or citizen to get a marriage license and to be a mortgage broker.