2011 is coming to an end and many state lawmakers have their eyes on curbing illegal immigration in 2012. With several states -- Arizona, Mississippi, Indiana, Utah, South Carolina and Alabama -- already paving the way, lawmakers in other states are looking for similar legislation to remove "magnets" drawing illegal aliens to their states.
While lawmakers in Arizona, Mississippi, Indiana, Utah, South Carolina and Alabama have successfully passed strong enforcement legislation against illegal immigration, they still face tough challenges from the federal government. The U.S Department of Justice has moved forward with lawsuits against four of those states, and Arizona's well-known bill, S.B. 1070, will be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court some time next spring.
The main focus of the DOJ lawsuits are laws that give local police authority to check the immigration status for individuals during traffic stops and other minor violations. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told USA Today that legislators will look at ways to restrict illegal immigrants from receiving public benefits, as well as expand the use of tools such as E-Verify.
Kobach highlighted that Alabama was the first state to legitimately prevent illegal aliens from conducting business transactions, and invalidated all their contracts. This is in addition to the withholding of public benefits to illegal aliens, and preventing them from acquiring a job.
North Carolina, which is estimated to have over 325,000 illegal aliens living in the state, is expected to be the next state to mobilize tougher enforcement legislation. North Carolina state Rep. Harry Warren said he is looking at Alabama's laws as he puts together a package for his state's 2012 legislative session.
"The only thing you can do in your state is make it less attractive [for illegal immigrants] to come to, a little harder to live here legally," Warren said.