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:
We offer legislative models that combine fair laws with robust enforcement, such as Connecticut's law that punishes employers who don't carry workers' compensation, Illinois' Employee Classification Act, and the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, restricting employers from using the federal E-Verify employment verification system.
We document how communities are affected by anti-immigrant legislation in terms of implementation costs, litigation costs, and real human costs.
We provide fact sheets that help state advocates critique anti-immigrant proposals.
We collect and disseminate studies that document immigrants' contribution to our economy and culture, including those from Arizona, Chicago, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Oregon, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
For more information on our work in this area, please contact Rebecca Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other key resources: