State and Local Anti-Immigrant Legislation

In recent years, cities and states around the country have proposed hundreds of bills targeting undocumented workers - denying them compensation for injuries, making it criminal for them to work, or sanctioning employers who hire them. In a worsening economy of job loss, rising health care costs and the mortgage crisis, some state and local governments have turned to these bills as a misguided attempt to fix our broken immigration system.  But such policies overlook the real problems affecting all workers:  employers who fail to pay a decent wage and provide a safe workplace, and enforcement systems that are failing to shut down violations of labor laws.  In addition, these policies also raise serious constitutional questions. 

Since the first days of this phenomenon in 2005, NELP has been working to help activists and lawmakers understand the real issues in our economy and in labor law coverage and enforcement.  NELP's More Harm than Good helps re-frame the debate and provides policy models for real reform, supporting our allies in developing state legislation to protect immigrant and US-born workers alike:

See also our work in the areas of Enforcement of Workplace Standards, Worksite Immigration Enforcement and No-Match, and Immigrant Workers' Rights and Remedies

For more information on our work in this area, please contact Rebecca Smith,

Other key resources:

Progressive States Network

Center for Community Change

American Immigration Lawyers' Association

Immigration Policy Center

National Immigration Law Center