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Montana State Immigration Laws

Welcome to FindLaw's review of immigration laws in Montana. In this article, you'll find information about how and when law enforcement officers in the state conduct checks of peoples' immigration statuses. You'll also learn how and when educational institutions and employers conduct these checks.

At the same time, we also cover how E-Verify systems are used in the state and restrictions on migrants' access to public benefits. It's important to know your rights. Continue reading to learn more.

Montana's History of Disagreements with the Biden Administration Over Presidential Immigration Policies

In 2021, Montana joined a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government over its current immigration policies. The case, in which Arizona was the original plaintiff, takes aim at the Biden administration's January directive to suspend, in large part, deportations of noncitizens unless those noncitizens pose a threat to national security.

Montana was concerned that this suspension of deportations would cause an overload of migrant detention facilities. It also cited concern that the suspension could contribute to the problem of drug trafficking in the state.

In its complaint, the Montana Department of Justice alleged that the Biden administration's suspension of deportations violated agreements that the state had with the Trump administration. The state lost the lawsuit.

Unlike many liberal states, such as Vermont, New York, and Colorado, Montana has a fairly conservative history around immigration-related issues. Much like South Carolina, Wyoming, and Tennessee, Montana tends to lean toward the political right on immigration-related issues.

Law Enforcement and Immigration in Montana

A federal program once required law enforcement officers to fingerprint all arrestees. It also required that police run arrestees' names through a database. That database checked immigration status.

But President Joe Biden revoked the Executive Order that former President Donald Trump used to renew the program. It expired in 2017. Under the new "Criminal Apprehension Program" program, only convicts' names get put through this system.

Information in this system is shared with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It can also go to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But it's typically only shared with ICE if a particularly flagrant immigration violation has occurred. This is usually only the case if a person is a threat to national security.

Employment and Immigration

For more information, refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules. Also, refer to the requirements for Form I-9.

Montana E-Verify Requirements

Employers in Montana must use the E-Verify system to check the immigration status of job applicants and workers. For more information about the E-Verify system, review FindLaw's page. You could also visit

Driver's License/ID Requirements

You must show proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residence to get a driver's license. You must also show proof of birthdate and proof of state residence. Examples of documents accepted for proving state residence include utility bills or similar correspondence.

Public Benefits Restrictions

Under federal law, illegal immigrants may not get public benefits. But they can get emergency services, health care, and other programs deemed "necessary to protect life and safety."

Education Checks

Montana has no" policy for in-state tuition for students without immigration documentation. This also applies to DACA recipients.

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It protects eligible young" adults from deportation after their parents brought them to the United States as children. It also gives these young adults work authorization for limited periods. Those periods of work authorization are renewable. For more information about DACA, review FindLaw's What is DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? You may also learn more about DACA by checking USCIS's FAQ page.

Voting ID Rules

Voters must present a valid driver's license or a current utility bill. Any similar correspondence is acceptable, as well. They can show another form of official ID if they do not have a valid driver's license.

Housing Ordinances and Immigration

Laws in Montana do not address whether landlords must check the immigration status of applicants or tenants.

Related Resources

Know Your Rights — Guide to protecting you and your family during immigration raids.

National Immigration Legal Services Directory — a resource for locating advocacy and immigration services in the state and elsewhere.

Need More Help? Contact an Immigration Attorney

The U.S. immigration system is confusing. Perhaps you're facing a possible deportation. Maybe you want a green card, and you're trying to become a legal permanent resident. You might even be working through the naturalization process or working on an application for visas for you and your family.

Whether you're in Missoula or elsewhere in the state, it's important for immigrants living here illegally to get the legal help they need. Speak with an immigration attorney today. Whether you're appearing before an immigration court or just handling a fairly standard situation with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, immigration lawyers can help.

If you can't afford an attorney, you still have options. Many attorneys work on a pro bono basis. Working pro bono means attorneys provide legal services for free. It doesn't matter what jurisdiction you're in; it's good to seek legal help when you need it.

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