National Immigration Law Center
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Our mission is to defend & advance the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.

State & Local: Legislation, Litigation, & Resources


State and Local Proposals That Punish Employers for Hiring Undocumented Workers Are Unenforceable, Unnecessary, and Bad Public Policy (1/08)

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire workers who are not authorized to work in the U.S., and it imposed civil and criminal penalties (known as “employer sanctions”) on employers who do so.  IRCA also prohibited states and localities from imposing their own employer sanctions schemes, stating that federal law preempts state and local law in this area.  IRCA’s intent was to make it more difficult for undocumented workers to find employment in the U.S. and thus to discourage them from immigrating here.

Facts About Federal Preemption: How to Analyze Whether State and Local Initiatives Are an Unlawful Attempt to Enforce Federal Immigration Law or Regulate Immigration (6/07)

The immigration system in the United States is in desperate need of reform in order to meet the nation’s societal, cultural, and economic needs. NILC staff promote ways to advance just and humane immigration reform policies that are in line with our country’s core values. NILC has played a leadership role spearheading the federal legislative campaign for the DREAM Act, which would provide young people who were brought to this country as children with the path to citizenship and access to higher education so they can continue contributing fully to the only country they know. Ultimately, NILC’s goals are centered on promoting the full integration of all immigrants into U.S. society.

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