Immigrations Policies Continue to Vary From State To State

By October 5, 2012News & Press

In July, a self-proclaimed “immigration enforcement activist” D.A. King filed a complaint with the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board regarding the immigration status of workers. King has accused more than 1,200 different government agencies in Georgia of not adequately providing information regarding House Bill 87, which requires government entities employing two or more people to annually file a report on each employee’s legal status.

King has cited a local convention and visitors’ bureau, a downtown development authority, waste management and others, though the actual number of potential cases is unclear as many agencies include volunteer boards with no “employed” staff, which makes them exemptions to the law. King has filed additional complaints with the state Department of Community Affairs, concerned with what he sees as non-compliance with the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, a database for public benefit applicants. How many other states are not reporting on the legal status of each and every employee is unknown, as there is no national database.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals released its ruling upholding their version of the “show me your papers” provision, allowing law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people otherwise detained if they fail to show proper identification. This decision follows a similar law in Arizona recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Complicating matters is Georgia’s Attorney General, Sam Olens, who stated that immigrants covered as part of The DREAM Act will be eligible for driver’s licenses, if they can provide proof of DACA. However, these individuals will not be issued state identification cards, as they are considered “public benefits,” and as such, are not covered. Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer, on the other hand, has ordered state officials to not to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants with “deferred status.”

“A lot of these issues are in uncharted waters. In this particular area, which is how do you treat people that are deferred action, there’s very little legal precedent to go by,” Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute’s office at the New York University School of Law, told CNN. “States are making their own judgments.”

Nebraska and Texas also are not issuing licenses, which they consider a public benefit, stated Gov. Dave Heineman, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry stated that DACA “does not undermine or change our state laws,” and said in a letter to his state’s attorney general that the federal guidelines “confer absolutely no legal status whatsoever” to any immigrant. California and Oregon, however, are looking at granting licenses.

“We’re still trying to sort out what this new limbo category means for states,” said Ann Morse, program director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at https://www.visatous.com.