Four of the top 10 states with biggest immigrant population growth now have Arizona-style laws

Leslie Berenstein Rojas on Monday, Mar. 5th

One post earlier this week mapped the top 10 states with the biggest foreign-born population growth since 1990; another post took a look at the states that since 2010 have enacted anti-illegal immigration laws. Among these are five states that since then have enacted strict laws similar to Arizona’s SB 1070, which the U.S. Supreme Court is set to weigh in on next month.

Put the data in both together and you have this: A list of the states with the fastest-growing immigrant populations that have recently enacted Arizona-style immigration laws. And as it turns out, of the five states with new laws similar to SB 1070 since 2010 – Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah and Indiana – all but one are on the top 10 list.

Here are the four states, all of which have seen more than 280 percent growth in their foreign-born populations since 1990, according to the Migration Policy Institute map above, and a brief synopsis of what’s happening with their immigration laws, all of which face legal challenges:

Alabama: Considered the nation’s strictest state anti-illegal immigration law, the measure known as HB 56 took partial effect in September. Among its many provisions was one blocked in court that would have required public schools to check the immigration status of students. The measure has driven many Latino immigrants to leave the state, prompting a labor shortage. A panel of federal judges in Atlanta this week decided to hold off on ruling on legal challenges to this and a similar law in Georgia until the Supreme Court decides on SB 1070.

Georgia: The state approved a measure last spring that is similar to the Alabama law, if not quite as strict. But with a component that requires employers to verify work authorization, similar to what has happened in Alabama, Georgia’s agricultural industry has been affected by a reduction in its labor force after the law took effect. Attempts to bring in convicts to work the fields have not worked out as planned. As with the Alabama law, federal judges are to decide on the law’s fate after SB 1070 is decided on by the Supreme Court.

South Carolina: Approved by state legislators in June, the state’s SB 1070-inspired law would have required law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of people suspected to be in the country illegally, a provision common to the laws modeled after Arizona’s. This and other controversial provisions were blocked (as was the same provision in Arizona) by a federal judge last December, before the law took effect in January.

Read the rest of the entry at Multi-American blog.

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