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All state legislatures addressed immigration this year

If you don't think immigration is a major issue in the state of South Carolina and the rest of the United States right now, let these numbers from a recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures sink in:

  • All 50 of the states and Puerto Rico saw some form of immigration legislation in the 2011 session.
  • 40 state legislatures introduced 151 laws and passed 95 resolutions regarding immigration, resulting in 246 total measures on immigration being discussed.
  • 10 states, including South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia joined the E-Verify program.
  • There are now 17 total states participating in the E-Verify program.
  • Bills similar to Arizona's infamous SB 1070 were proposed in 30 states.
  • 5 states, including South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and Utah approved them and now have very strict immigration policy.

According to the head of the NCSL's Immigrant Policy Project, "the immigration issue has exploded in the last two years and we've seen in 2011 the largest number of bills introduced in recent years."

She said that the NCSL's report shows that a majority of states have a deep interest in immigration policy and are likely trying to get the attention of the federal government to address the issue as well.

As you can see, many states are taking on the issue of immigration and it is only a matter of time before the federal government comprehensively addresses the issue as well. This means that now is the time to become a legal citizen or resident in the United States.

There are many paths available to getting a visa. The most common path for foreign nationals who are not immediate relatives of United States citizens and permanent residents is through a business and employment-based immigration visa application.

For foreign nationals who are immediate relatives of United States citizens and permanent residents, green card visas are available to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) or even a naturalized United States citizen.

The process can be complex, but with the right help changing your immigration status may be more possible than you realize.

Source: Latin America Herald, "All 50 States Dealt with Immigration in 2011," Aug. 10, 2011.

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