Immigration and the States Project

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Over the last four decades, immigration to the U.S. has grown rapidly in both relative and absolute terms, as millions of foreigners heralding from all parts of the world have made this country their home. While the federal government has been largely responsible for the admission of immigrants and the enforcement of immigration laws, states and localities have played a critical role in the integration of immigrants into communities. As the magnitude and nature of immigration—and the challenges associated with it—have transformed the political and policy landscape, the roles of the federal government and of the states have evolved, sparking both new cooperation and new points of friction. Pew’s work examines the intersection of federal, state, and local immigration laws and policies and the potential impact on all levels of government.

Our Work

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  • Deciding Who Drives

    U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants can routinely obtain and renew driver’s licenses, and some states have decided to allow unauthorized immigrants to do so as well. As of the summer of 2015, 10 states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont, and Washington—and the District of Columbia issue driver’s licenses to this... Read More

  • U.S. Immigration: National and State Trends and Actions

    In the United States, the federal government maintains primary authority over immigrants' admission into and removal from the country. Historically, the states have been largely responsible for the practical aspects of absorbing and integrating immigrants into their communities. But the relationship between the federal government and the states with respect to immigration has become more... Read More

  • State Immigration Policy Offices: 3 Takeaways

    Four states—Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New York—have developed unique statewide offices to focus on immigrant integration, economic development, and other immigration policy issues. So far in 2015, California enacted legislation to create a statewide director of immigrant integration, and Pennsylvania introduced legislation to create an office. Read More

Media Contact

Sarah Leiseca

Officer, Communications