On July 22, 2009, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan research organization that serves state legislators and their staffs, reported that, as of June 30, 2009, seven states had enacted a collective total of 10 laws relating to immigration and employment. These seven states are: Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Tennessee, and Utah. Additionally, two bills were vetoed in Georgia and Minnesota, while three bills in Illinois and one in Oregon were sent to the respective governors—but remain unsigned. Furthermore, legislatures in Georgia and Nebraska have passed omnibus, immigration-related legislation dealing with employment issues as well as other areas.
The NCSL report also indicated that these new state laws include employer sanctions related to the hiring of unauthorized workers and penalties related to the employment eligibility verification requirements. This activity adds to the record expansion of state legislation involving immigration that has developed over the states’ frustration with Congress’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform. At the present time, 46 states have some form of legislation dealing with immigration issues from identification/driver’s licenses to employment and education. This means that employers seeking to comply with all immigration requirements also must consult the laws of the states in which they operate or do business.