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Governors Blast Lack of Uniform U.S. Immigration Policy

At a health-care conference in Little Rock, Ark. last month, Govs. Mike Beebe (R-Ark.), Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.), Janet Napolitano (D-Ariz.) and Phil Bredesen (D-Tenn.) publicly criticized the absence of comprehensive federal immigration policy.

With the problem not been adequately addressed at the federal level, states are facing the pressure of having to deal with immigration-related issues, especially in the wake of the latest Homeland Security efforts aimed at cracking down on immigrants who are working in the U.S. illegally.

In Kansas, all driver’s license recipients must now show their birth certificates at the time they apply for a permit, turning clerks into de facto immigration officials.

In Arkansas, state police officials may allow state troopers to work with federal immigration officials in cases where troopers come into contact with illegal aliens during the course of their duties. Gov. Beebe said that he has no problem with the state’s law enforcement agencies cooperating with federal immigration officials, but  “we don’t have the resources to be doing the feds’ job.”

Arizona will soon enact tough penalties against employers who knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented workers. Gov. Napolitano publicly supported the federal bill that died in Congress earlier this year. Asked if she believed differences in various state laws on immigration could be a source of tension among the states, Napolitano said that the issue hasn’t yet but could be in the future.

For more information, e-mail Carlos Gutierrez at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8242.

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