State and Local Immigrants’ Rights Developments, December 2019–August 2020

State and Local Immigrants’ Rights Developments, December 2019–August 2020



Click on image of report’s cover to download PDF

The COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impact on immigrants and on Black, Indigenous, and low-income communities of color has forced the United States to confront longstanding disparities in access to care and economic support, as well as the harmful effects of policing and carceral systems. Rather than addressing these issues, the federal administration’s policies have thwarted efforts to protect public health, leaving states and localities to fend for themselves.

State and local governments increasingly recognize that they cannot protect public health and well-being without ensuring that all residents have access to care and support. In 2020, states continued to adopt policies improving access to health care, driver’s licenses, higher education, and professional licenses for immigrants; protecting the rights of workers and tenants; promoting access to the courts; and limiting local entanglement in federal immigration enforcement efforts. States and localities also are seeking to fill gaps left by federal COVID-19 relief legislation — by offering access to care, rental assistance, tax credits, or economic support. In response to years of organizing and global protests, local governments are exploring how to shift resources from life-threatening and discriminatory carceral and policing strategies to investments in health care, education, and economic opportunities that allow communities to thrive.

This report highlights the immigrant-inclusive state laws and policies adopted from December 2019 through August 2020, including state and local efforts to provide relief to immigrant residents harmed by the COVID crisis and measures that limit their involvement in federal immigration enforcement and detention.

To download the report, click on the image of the report’s cover, above.


  • Immigrant-Inclusive State Laws and Policies Enacted December 2019 to August 2020
  • Expanding Access to Driver’s Licenses
  • Map: State Laws on Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants
  • Improving Access to Health Care and Public Benefits
  • Economic and Rental Assistance During the Pandemic
  • State Earned Income Tax Credits
  • Improving Access to Higher Education
  • Map: Current State Laws and Policies on Access to Higher Education for Immigrants
  • Expanding Access to Professional Licenses and Entrepreneurial Opportunities
  • Civil Rights and Other Protections for Tenants, Workers, and Consumers
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Worker Safety Reforms
  • Universal Representation
  • Protecting Access to Courts, Limiting Entanglement, and Protecting Privacy
  • Protecting the Privacy of Workers, Drivers, and Consumers
  • Divesting from Mass Incarceration and Policing
  • Limiting Detention and Monitoring Conditions
  • Decarceral Policies