The advisory message is that employers of immigrant/migrant labor would be wise to stay attentive to state and local developments in immigration-related law.
At the national level , there is policy on E-Verify, the 287(g) Program, the possible use of a fingerprint database developed by ICE to identify undocumented immigrants detained by local authorities, and the potential Leafy Green Marketing Agreement requiring “Best Practices” yet to be drafted. And don’t forget the fluctuating H2A scene and unresolved Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
There is also an interstate consideration. Lack of definitive immigration solutions has left states to define their own measures and policies. The questions is, What is happening in other states that may affect my state, my operations? In 2006, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reported that thirty-two states had enacted a total of eighty-four immigration-related laws, and the trend continues to this day:
State laws related to immigration have increased dramatically in recent years.
In 2005, 300 bills were introduced; 38 laws were enacted and 6 vetoed.
In 2006, activity doubled: 570 bills were introduced; 84 laws were enacted; and 6 vetoed.
In 2007, activity tripled: 1,562 bills were introduced; 240 laws were enacted; and 12 vetoed.
In 2008, 1305 bills were considered; 206 were enacted; 3 were vetoed.
As for 2009, an NCSL report dated July17, 2009 noted:
In the first half of 2009, state legislation related to immigration topped last year’s totals. So far this year, more than 1400 bills have been considered in all 50 states.
(This report can be viewed at: www.ncsl.org/documents/immig/ImmigrationReport2009.pdf )
Some 2010 state efforts which may influence ag producers may be from an adjacent state, the region or from the other side of the country, but they could develop into precedent or a model for legislation in your state…so they bear watching.
A bill would ban anyone without proven legal status from receiving any state or local benefit; outlaw administering the written portion of the Idaho driver’s license test in any language other than English;…and deny recognition of out-of-state driver’s licenses to those without legal immigration status.
Three new bills are being proposed by legislators to punish employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants with fines and suspension of licenses.
Senate legislators continue to consider a bill that would grant farm workers mandatory overtime, days off to rest, and other rights and privileges. Opponents say it will drive up costs and labor regulation.
Alabama legislators are considering six bills before that would penalize employers not verifying documentation of legal immigrant status. Some bills may apply statewide while others apply only to certain counties. Use of the E-Verify system would be required and employers would face possible loss of business licenses for multiple violations and non-compliance.
Senate Bill 35 would mandate that the Ohio Attorney General pursue a memorandum of agreement with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to deputize Ohio law enforcement officers as immigration enforcement officers, the 287(g) program
Senate Bill 150 would allow county commissioners to direct a sheriff to take custody of persons who are being detained for deportation or who are charged with criminal violations of immigration law and to authorize state and local employees and county sheriffs to render assistance to federal immigration officials in the investigation and enforcement of federal immigration law.