State lawmakers are offering more than 500 bills this year targeting state-mandated services, illegal aliens and the employers who hire them, responding to a growing chorus of public opinion nationwide calling for stricter enforcement of immigration laws.
Led by Georgia, where benefits for illegal aliens were cut and stiff sanctions placed on employers who hire illegals, and by Colorado, which banned nonemergency services to those in the country illegally, at least 39 states have either proposed or passed similar legislation.
With federal immigration reform stalled on Capitol Hill, several states are proposing their own laws. More than 500 bills have been introduced this year covering a variety of topics, including employment, access to public benefits and voting rights, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The conference said 57 bills were passed this year, while others were vetoed and several more are awaiting gubernatorial action.
Federal law requires states to provide some services to illegal aliens, including education and emergency medical care, but not other services, including continued health care and unemployment benefits.