Now that the New Year is officially here, many states across the U.S. are seeing new immigration laws take effect. Here in California, the Dream Act -- which allows students lacking citizenship to secure much-needed financial aid to attend public universities -- is now a reality.
However, some of these new state laws now in effect are not nearly as beneficial as California's Dream Act, but rather more punitive in nature.
To illustrate, the state of Alabama -- which has emerged as a hotbed of immigration-related controversy over the last year -- now has a new law in effect requiring all employers who do any type of business with any state agency to use the E-Verify program. (All employers are required to use the program by April 1.)
For those unfamiliar with the E-Verify program, it is a free internet-based system run by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that enables employers to verify the citizenship status of potential employees using information from the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9).
Proponents of Alabama's new E-Verify provision argue that it will stimulate the state economy, serve as an effective deterrent against illegal immigration and succeed where the federal government has otherwise failed.
"We recognize that changes are needed to ensure that Alabama has not only the nation's most effective law, but one that is fair and just, promotes economic growth, preserves jobs for those in Alabama illegally, and can be enforced effectively and without prejudice," said Governor Robert Bentley.
Critics of the E-Verify component of Alabama's House Bill 56 (HB 56) -- which is modeled after Arizona's controversial SB 1070 regarding immigration detention matters, and which introduces sweeping reforms -- argue that it not only is discriminatory but usurps the duties of the federal government.
It remains to be seen how closely Alabama businesses will comply with the new law.
Stay tuned for further updates from our Los Angeles County immigration law blog ...
Due to the continued complexity of immigration laws with respect to citizenship/naturalization and the exposure to facing a denial of this petition, it is critical to speak with a legal professional who has extensive specialized knowledge and experience in immigration law.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice
Fox News Latino, "Controversial immigration laws go into effect around the country" Jan. 3, 2012