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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Sep 2, 2016

Arizona’s immigrant population has been on the decrease over the past few years. It may be because of the tough laws placed on immigration recently or a variety of other reasons that have led undocumented immigrants to leave. Arizona continues to lead the push on creating tougher laws on those living in the country illegally.

Arizona’s immigration laws

Arizona has been in the forefront of tough immigration laws. The state began cracking down on those residing in AZ illegally starting in 2004, but the immigrant population didn’t begin to decrease until 2007 when the recession hit.

When the recession hit and the housing market crashed, many of the state’s construction jobs dried up, leaving many undocumented immigrants without jobs to fill. But the state continued to enforce tougher laws on those living in the country without documentation. Below are Arizona’s most recent immigration laws:

  • In 2004, Arizona passed proposition 200, requiring people to have citizenship to receive social services such as childcare and housing assistance.
  • In 2006, Arizona passed Proposition 300, baring in-state tuition from college students without a lawful immigration status.
  • In 2008, Arizona made it a requirement for Arizona employees to use the federal E-Verify system which requires an employee to have a Social Security number to work legally.
  • In 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB1070 which allowed police officers to ask for a person’s immigration papers when engaging in a stop, as long as they had reasonable suspicion. As this law opened the door to discrimination, most of it was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. But, last September a U.S. District Court Judge upheld the law’s provision that allows police to question the immigration status of those they suspect are undocumented.

pexels-photoNow the state is debating House Bill 2451, which would make undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes complete 85 percent of their sentences before the Arizona Department of Corrections can turn them over to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation. Right now, many undocumented immigrants are handed over to federal officials after serving only half of their sentences if certain requirements are met. This law could could affect about 1,000 inmates and add up to $16.7  million each year to the state’s Department of Corrections budget.