While immigration policy is technically in the policy domain of the federal government, states, as the providers of most services, have increasingly become involved in these policy discussions. They’ve done so by altering how and to whom they provide services.
Some states have moved towards inclusivity for immigrants, enacting policies such as easing restrictions on professional licensure, creating tuition benefits, and expanding access to driver's licenses.
On the other hand, some states have made it more difficult for immigrants to possess identification or have access to health care.
This article is part of our latest series: Major Issue Trends in 2023: State Legislative Recap. In this series, our experts examine the high-level legislative trends they saw in the 2023 state sessions. In addition to discussing the most prevalent issues considered by state policymakers, they explore some of the more surprising emerging trends we noticed, plus what to expect in 2024 for many of these policy areas. The series will be released during November and December, with new articles each week. Explore the full series here, and be sure to sign up for our email list so you don’t miss out on any articles (check the “Blog Posts” box).
With the 2024 presidential election approaching, immigration will likely be a key issue in the states in 2024. The intensity and divisiveness of this topic will most certainly trickle down to state legislatures. While immigration policy is technically in the policy domain of the federal government, states, as the providers of most services, have increasingly become involved in these policy discussions. They’ve done so by altering how and to whom they provide services.
2023 State Immigration Policy Recap
Immigration policy was a key issue in 2023 across many states. There were a variety of bills enacted that aimed at inclusivity for immigrants, including easing restrictions on professional licensure in Maryland, tuition benefits in Utah, and driver’s license expansion in Minnesota. Other states like Florida are working in the other direction and passing legislation making it more difficult for immigrants to possess identification or have access to health care. Texas also enacted legislation putting stricter border security into place.
What to Expect in 2024
Immigration will continue as a major issue debated in 2024, and there will be a significant number of bills relating to identification, benefits, public safety, and privacy. States vary widely in how they address immigration and how they regulate immigrants already living in the U.S. Expect to see more state legislation in 2024 that discusses sanctuary cities and local cooperation with ICE officials. Outside of enforcement issues, there will likely be a number of bills introduced concerning access to benefits like Medicaid or in-state college tuition. Employment issues like safety and pay standards and rules on obtaining driver’s licenses and identification cards will be issues to watch in 2024. Lastly, given the increased policy attention paid to privacy-related issues by state policymakers, we expect to see the privacy of immigration status also emerge as an area of debate amongst state legislators.
Tracking State Immigration Legislation
MultiState’s team is actively identifying and tracking important immigration legislation so that businesses and organizations have the information they need to navigate and effectively engage. If your organization would like to furthertrack this and other issues, pleasecontact us.