State Immigration Policy: Beyond Population Growth

Robert Nathenson, Johns Hopkins University

Modes of Incorporation emphasizes the role of governmental policy in the incorporation of immigrants (Portes and Rumbaut 1990). This policy is generally captured at the federal level. However, great variability exists in state-based immigration policy. States exercise great authority over much of immigrants’ daily lives. There were at least 200 immigrant related state bills passed and over 1,000 proposed in both 2007 and 2008 (NCSL 2007; 2008). Some laws are anti-immigrant, such as Arizona’s SB 1070, while others, such as Maryland’s dream Act, SB167, are pro-immigrant. This research expands upon the modes of incorporation framework by modeling governmental policy at the state level. It examines the mechanisms behind state immigrant legislation. What influence has immigrant growth on legislation passed? How do states’ cultural, historical, and political landscapes affect the type and quantity of legislation passed? Legislation will be modeled as count data via a Poisson process.

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Presented in Session 64: International Migration and U.S. Immigration Policy