By:  Richard Hanus, Esq.

Published May 7, 2021

With one million immigrants coming to the US every year, there are laws in place to control and regulate entry into the United States. It is important to understand that there is both state and federal immigration law. Although the two share many similarities, there are notable differences as well.

This guide will compare the two so that you can be more informed, especially if you’re looking for legal advice.

Let’s get started.

Federal Immigration Law

The US immigration policy is regulated at the federal level. Although certain matters pertain to the states, federal laws trump those laws. There may be occasional circumstances in which the states play a bigger role, but generally, federal law has more power to enforce the immigration laws of the US.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are the agencies that administer our immigration system and handle immigration proceedings.

Congress has acted on immigration since 1798, and the laws continue to shift. New laws allow the president to deport or imprison people who are considered “dangerous” and/or removable.

Federal immigration law covers a variety of other issues regarding the rights of individuals coming to the United States. These laws define an individual’s immigration options, their status and it determines if a person has come to the country legally.

State Immigration Law

Nearly every state law that has affected immigration is challenged through litigation by civil liberty groups or the federal government. It’s not difficult to uncover all of the lawsuits that occurred due to state provisions that required proof of citizenship or legal residence.

There are many ways a state government gets involved with immigration cases. The federal government explicitly allows states to utilize licensing laws that regulate employing immigrants who live in the United States.

State governments can also enact laws that allow them to control the use of public programs by immigrants. This is done by having applicants prove their citizenship status when they apply.

Authorities from different states can also aid in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. This gives them the power to detain immigrants convicted of a felony in the past.

Immigration laws can easily get complicated on both a federal and state level. That’s why there are a variety of different circumstances when it comes to dealing with your own immigration journey, from applying for a green card to finding employment.

Knowing the Difference

Part of what makes America so unique is the diversity. People from all over the world come to the United States to change their lives for the better. Since immigration is so complicated, thorough laws need to be implemented to ensure a smooth process.

Part of understanding US immigration laws better is knowing the different types. There is not only federal immigration law but state laws as well. Both of them have similarities, but there are big differences as well.

Looking for immigration lawyer services? You’ve come to the right place! Contact us today to learn more.

PUBLISHED May 7, 2021– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2021, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois