A Decade of State Immigrant Rights Victories:
Moving Toward Health Care and Economic Justice for All
National Immigration Law Center
In the decade following the 2012 elections, and culminating in 2022, immigrants and allies have won significant victories in states across the country. These inclusive state policies are a result of years of organizing and a growing advocacy infrastructure that tackles issues affecting low-income communities of color. State and local officials increasingly recognize that the health and well-being of their residents is interconnected and have taken steps to address longstanding disparities in access to health care and economic support.
In 2022, states made remarkable progress toward the goal of providing health care for all by extending coverage to seniors, children, pregnant people, and other residents regardless of their immigration status. In response to effective organizing, states also improved access to higher education and professional licenses, expanded access to driver’s licenses, protected workers’ rights, strengthened consumer privacy, and invested in access to counsel for immigrants. States extended tax credits to residents who use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) and offered cash assistance to workers who were excluded from federal pandemic relief and unemployment insurance. Colorado became the first state to enact an ongoing alternative to unemployment insurance for excluded workers. Finally, Arizona voters repealed restrictions on immigrants’ access to higher education imposed by a 2006 initiative and approved in-state tuition rates for students who attend high school in the state, regardless of their immigration status.
This report highlights some of the immigrant rights victories achieved in 2022 and provides an overview of current state policies on access to health care, economic support, and other opportunities for students and workers who are immigrants.