During the year 2006 a number of bills regarding immigration legislation were introduced and ratified in the US. By August of 2006, not less than eighty of the five hundred and sixty pieces of legislation were introduced in the state legislatures, which addressed several important aspects of immigrant employment. Seventeen bills that address several aspects in respect of employing immigrants were adopted by nine states. The provisions of these state bills were forestalled by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 or IRCA.
Consequently, some of the state legislation may have been rendered unenforceable. However, a majority of the population is of the opinion that the regulation of immigration is the responsibility of the Federal Government. The present trend exhibited by the states in implementing non – federal laws in respect of immigrant – employment is nothing but a challenge to the supremacy of federal legislation over state legislation (Challenges to Federal Immigration Regulation: The Possible Consequences of State Imposed Employer Sanctions).
However, these state bills reflect the endeavor of states to show their dissatisfaction with the Federal Government as the latter had failed to appropriately implement the legislation in the context of immigration and as it had failed to recognize the states’ role in immigration. At this juncture, it can be concluded that the recent approval of immigrant – employment bills demonstrates the conflict between the federal and state government (Challenges to Federal Immigration Regulation: The Possible Consequences of State Imposed Employer Sanctions).
There is an identity – crisis prevalent among the states regarding the Federal Government. Thus the immigration policy on close scrutiny has revealed that the need of the hour is to look beyond the national perspective and to concentrate more on the attempts being made by the states to implement appropriate legislation. The national identity addresses the issues with regard to the nation’s treatment of foreigners, job facilities offered to immigrants and processing of visa application of foreigners.
Despite the fact that the term nation connotes American interests in a broader perspective, the passage of bills in 2006 clearly demonstrates that the states are disputing this national identity (Challenges to Federal Immigration Regulation: The Possible Consequences of State Imposed Employer Sanctions). According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, D. C. , there are eleven million illegal aliens resident in the United States as of April 2006. The US Federal Government is apprehensive, that this illegal immigration could become a serious threat to the nation’s economy.
The other characteristic of illegal immigration is that it has an important influence on the state and local governments, in the fields of education, law enforcement, health, and public assistance. In general, immigration has been subject to the jurisdiction and control of the Federal Government. This Federal Government prevents illegal entrants from neighbouring countries. There has been an increase in illegal immigration across the country and that too specifically in places that are far off from the borders.
Under such circumstances, the Federal Government becomes incapable of concentrating on those faraway places and accordingly requires the states to initiate suitable action (ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION). The McCarran Walter Bill of 1952 integrated all immigration laws that were dispersed in every part of the federal statutes and formulated the Immigration and Nationality Act at Title 8 of the U. S. Code. The INA combines both civil and criminal laws that relate to immigration. Generally, the Federal Government is bestowed with civil enforcement powers that include the verification of citizenship and deporting aliens without documents.
The state and local governments are bestowed with criminal powers including control over illegal immigration. State police authorities are empowered to investigate the criminal activities of aliens and smuggling cartels. Federal authorities act independently without seeking the assistance of the states. This customary division of sovereign powers has been worn away by the provision of powers to states that allows them to initiate action against illegal immigration (ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION).