U.S. News

Factbox: States wrestle with immigration policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A judge on Wednesday blocked the most controversial parts of a new Arizona immigration law coming into effect on Thursday.

Parts of the law put on hold would require police to determine the immigration status of a person they have stopped or detained -- for example for a traffic offense -- and make it mandatory to always carry immigration registration papers.

Arizona, which has a border with Mexico, is not the only state to address the issue of undocumented workers through its legislature. “State lawmakers are forced to have to pick up the pieces of a broken federal immigration policy,” said Virginia State Senator John Watkins in a statement.

Below are some key facts about immigration and the states.

* As of June 30, bills similar to Arizona’s law had been introduced in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Michigan.

* In the first half of the year, 44 state legislatures passed 191 laws and adopted 128 resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees, with governors vetoing five of the bills. This was a 21 percent increase in enacted laws and resolutions from the same time period in 2009.

* Most of the state legislation addresses employment, law enforcement and identification.

* In all of 2009 more than 1,500 bills were introduced in state legislatures related to immigration, compared to 300 in 2005.

* Immigrants made up more than 12 percent of the U.S. population in 2008 and the foreign-born share of Arizona’s population was 14.3 percent that year. In California, which is also on the border, foreign-born residents make up more than a quarter of the population. Latinos make up the biggest group.

* The Latino share of Arizona’s population was 30.1 percent in 2008. In neighboring Texas, Latinos made up 36.5 percent of the population and in California they made up 32.4 percent. In New Mexico, they represented nearly 45 percent of the population.

SOURCES: National Conference of State Legislatures, The Immigration Policy Center

Compiled by Lisa Lambert in Washington, Editing by David Storey