AILA Releases New Resource Guide for State and Local Policymakers

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Jenny Levy

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) released its newest tool, a resource guide for state and local policymakers and immigration advocates, this week. The guide, entitled "Navigating the Immigration Debate: A Guide for State and Local Policymakers and Advocates," is available now for reference on AILA's website InfoNet at

"In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, we've seen states and communities increasingly step in and try to pass immigration-related legislation, or enforce federal immigration laws that they really don't understand," said AILA Advocacy Coordinator, Loren Crippin. In light of the increased efforts to address immigration at the state level, AILA's Advocacy Department put together this tool for state and local policymakers to use when drafting or considering immigration-related legislation. AILA will send the guide out to all state legislators, and will also have it available online for members, advocates and coalition partners to reference.

In "Navigating the Immigration Debate," AILA identifies and addresses the top seven immigration-related issues plaguing state and local governments: restricting immigrants' access to public benefits, mandating employment eligibility verification, restricting day laborer sites, establishing English-only ordinances, imposing anti-immigrant housing ordinances, understanding state and local police responsibilities, and restricting immigrants' access to driver's licenses/REAL ID. For each topic, the guide provides a comprehensive overview of both sides of the issue, a myth/fact sheet addressing and dispelling the most common misgivings associated with the issue, a record of legislative activity at the state and local level concerning the issue with lists of all the related legislation, passed and pending, relevant litigation and a complete list of resources for further reading.

"In the current climate of political spin regarding the pivotal issue of immigration in the United States and due to the federal legislative vacuum on responsible immigration reform, AILA is launching this resource to provide state and local lawmakers with facts and legal analysis to combat rhetoric," said AILA President Kathleen Campbell Walker. "AILA knows that responsible legislators wish to glean fact from fiction and review policy and legal issues thoroughly before taking action. We hope this tool will help them do just that, while we wait for a federal solution. A patchwork quilt of varying state legislation on the federal issue of immigration is not the answer."


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. For more information call Jenny Levy at 202-216-207 or Annie Wilson at 202-216-2435

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 08022267.