US Catholic Faith in Real Life

The new immigration laws

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Want to know more about new state immigration laws? We’ve done the research.

In the following states, immigration legislation has been proposed to:


  • Require public schools to check the immigration status of students
  • Criminalize the act of giving an undocumented immigrant a ride
  • Require all employers to use the federal E-Verify program to confirm work authorization of new hires
  • Instruct police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect the person is in the country illegally (If a person is driving without a license, a check must be performed since illegal immigrants are not allowed to receive driver’s licenses in Alabama)
  • Make it illegal to knowingly rent to or hire an undocumented immigrant
  • Make it a felony crime for illegal immigrants to enter into “business transactions” in the state


  • Mandate that law enforcement check individuals’ immigration status if “reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the country illegally
  • Charge immigrants who do not have documentation with a misdemeanor
  • Make it a crime to knowingly transport undocumented immigrants


  • Require law enforcement to check the status of people who cannot provide identification when requested
  • Make it a crime to: transport an undocumented immigrant in Georgia, entice an undocumented immigrant to enter Georgia, and conceal or harbor an undocumented immigrant
  • Allow legal residents over age 21 to file civil actions against officials or agencies to require that these new laws be enforced
  • Criminalize the act of using false identification to acquire work


  • Allow law enforcement to request identification/immigration status verification from individuals who have been lawfully detained
  • Require that public meetings (of governing bodies of public agencies) be conducted only in English and requires that only English be used on documents or communication issued from the state
  • Require all state and government agencies to use E-Verify. Private employers, though not required, are offered protections and incentives to do so
  • Allow law enforcement to arrest a person with probable cause that the person is undocumented


  • Require law enforcement to determine the immigration status of any person lawfully detained if there is “reasonable suspicion” the person is in the country illegally
  • Prohibit transporting or harboring undocumented immigrants
  • Require that undocumented immigrants always carry their federal certificates of registration
  • Require all businesses to use the E-Verify system

UTAH – HB 497

  • Require that police verify the legal status of those they arrest for misdemeanors and felonies
  • Allow suspected illegal immigrants to be arrested without a warrant
  • Make it illegal to harbor undocumented immigrants

This is a web-only sidebar that accompanies Houses divided: How the new immigration laws are bad for families, which appeared in the March 2012 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 77, No. 3, pages 22-26).