US states are active in enacting immigration policies, which vary widely and have substantial impact on the lives of immigrants. Our understanding of what produces these divergent state laws remains limited. Qualitative research demonstrates the importance of a 2010 immigration compact, supported by a powerful religious organization, in shaping immigration policies in Utah, and the Utah Compact was held up as a model for other states. But is the experience of Utah applicable across other states? We test the effects of compacts and interest groups on immigration policy adoption across all 50 states between 2005 and 2013. Our findings suggest that compacts are actually associated with more restrictive immigration policy. Although states with compacts are more likely to pass inclusive immigration laws, these are counterbalanced by higher numbers of exclusive laws. Both religious and non‐religious interests groups are associated with policy, but they do not explain the effects of compacts.
Hofmann, E. T., Jacobs, P. and Petrzelka, P. (2019), State Immigration Policies: The Role of State Compacts and Interest Groups on Immigration Legislation. Int Migr, 57: 109-126. doi:10.1111/imig.12438