States Get a Head Start on Immigration Reform

(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)

The same week that both President Obama and a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators released proposals for comprehensive federal immigration reform, pro-immigrant policies continued to gain traction in the states on issues including tuition equity and driver's licenses for DREAMers. Nearly three years after Arizona passed SB 1070, anti-immigrant forces are clearly finding themselves increasingly isolated at both the state and federal level in 2013:

Mirroring the bipartisan support for reform in the U.S. Senate, four Republican state lawmakers in California announced their support for comprehensive immigration reform. [Los Angeles Times]

Why increased border security — a key demand in the announced Senate framework — is already "90 to 95 percent solved." [Wonkblog]

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the author of Arizona's SB 1070 and advisor to Mitt Romney, is now "marginalized on a national basis" on immigration. [Kansas City Star] 

Colorado's ASSET in-state tuition bill gained more bipartisan support, setting off "shock waves" in the state. [Denver Post]

A tuition equity bill in Virginia cleared a House subcommittee by a 6-0 bipartisan vote. [Manassas Park Patch]

In-state tuition is also back on the front burner in Oregon, where Gov. John Kitzhaber recently announced he would sign a bill into law if passed. [Statesman Journal]

Illinois became the fourth and biggest state to allow all immigrants access to driver's licenses. [Colorlines]

Michigan's Secretary of State reversed a policy that prevented DREAMers from receiving driver's licenses following a challenge by a coalition of civil rights organizations. [ACLU]

Meanwhile, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez signaled she would again push for repeal of her state's driver's license law. [Stateline]


Read the full Dispatch from February 2, 2013 here.