Sunday, October 26, 2008

State Responses to Immigration: A Database of All State Legislation

We are very pleased to release a one-of-a-kind, fully searchable online
database that tracks and catalogues 1,059 bills and resolutions introduced
by state legislators in 2007 to regulate immigrants and immigration. The
State Responses to Immigration Database allows users to search 2007
legislation by state, geographic region, subject area, bill status, and
legislative typology.

Some quick findings:

* State legislators in the 50 states introduced a total of 1,059
immigration-related bills and resolutions in 2007, of which 167 (or 16
percent) were enacted into law. The vast majority of bills proposed in
2007 either expired (33 percent) or remained pending (45 percent) at
year's end without any legislative resolution.

* Bills that regulate employment and expand state and local participation
in immigration enforcement were the most popular topics of 2007
legislation, accounting for 551 bills.

* Measures that expand the rights of immigrants were enacted at a higher
rate (19 percent of 313 bills) than measures that either contract
immigrants' rights (11 percent of 263 bills), regulate employment (10
percent of 237 bills), or relate to law enforcement (11 percent of 264

* States chose to regulate an extremely wide variety of
immigration-related subjects, ranging from measures that penalize
employers who hire unauthorized workers to legislation concerning human
trafficking, and measures that require landlords to verify prospective
tenants' immigration status.

* Bills that expand immigrant rights were the most popular type of measure
introduced in 2007 in states with the largest immigrant populations, such
as California, New York, and Texas. In contrast, bills that contract
immigrant rights were the most popular type of measure introduced in 2007
in states with the fastest-growing foreign-born population, such as South
Carolina and Nevada.

* The top three states to propose immigration measures during the year
were Texas (104 bills), New York (98), and Tennessee (83). But the top
three states that actually passed immigration legislation and saw the
bills signed into law were Hawaii (15), Texas (11), and Arizona (9).

A collaborative project between the Migration Policy Institute and a
research team at the New York University School of Law, the State
Responses to Immigration Database is designed to offer a fine-grained
picture of state legislative immigration-related activity in 2007.

Search the bills by geography, passage or failure, subject area, or an
MPI/NYU typology that determines whether the measures would contract or
expand immigrants' rights, or deal with employment or law enforcement.

To find out more, go to the State Responses to Immigration Database
select a geography, and then choose either legislative typology or a
subject to learn about trends in state immigrant-related legislation in
2007. We strongly encourage you to read about the methodology
we employed to gather and classify immigration-related legislation before
using the tool.

We have posted the 2007 legislation and will add data for 2008, in
addition to 2001-2006 data, in the coming months. This data tool is a
project of MPI's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. It was
made possible by the generous support from Carnegie Corporation of New

Many people contributed to the development of the State Responses to
Immigration Database. We would like to thank MPI Nonresident Fellow
Cristina Rodriguez (Associate Professor of Law, NYU School of Law) and
Muzaffar Chishti (Director, Migration Policy Institute at NYU School of
Law) who supervised a wonderful research team at NYU. We are grateful to
MPI's Laureen Laglagaron, Michelle Mittelstadt, Michael Fix, Margie
McHugh, and April Siruno for great ideas and the long hours they put into
the tool. We are thankful to the MPI interns for their assistance in doing
spotchecks. Last, but not least, we owe a debt of gratitude to our tech
team, Ethan Andrews and DJ LaChapelle of HiFrontier, who made this tool an
online reality.

We look forward to hearing your feedback.

On behalf of the MPI Data Hub team, thank you.

Jeanne Batalova, Data Manager


Research Writer said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.
Paper Research

Stanley said...

This database is an excellent idea, and should serve as an invaluable resource to people (non attorneys) that need access to this data. After all the key to realizing the american dream of freedom is freedom of information, and often it seems that we are most held back from information by disorganization and difficulty of access thereby. This info should also help people that are seeking immigrant investor visas, as they will be able to do research on the process and the surrounding laws.