During his two terms in office, President Barack Obama has deported more people— 2 million in total—than any other president. Nevertheless, there are a half dozen states across the country who don’t think Obama, nor federal government, is doing enough to stem illegal immigration. These states have gone to extreme lengths to wage a war of attrition on their immigrant population, hoping to drive out the immigrants through laws that criminalize their everyday existence.

Take Ignacio Portillo, an undocumented resident who has lived in the U.S. for 16 years. Portillo runs a construction company in Atlanta and has been arrested three times in two years for driving without a license. He spent weeks in a jail, paid over $2,000 in fines, $4,000 for bond, and has been put on probation for the act of driving a car. The problem is that Portillo cannot get a Georgia driver’s license because the state refuses to issue them to undocumented immigrants.  And thanks to a 2008 law, if a person is arrested four times for driving without a license in Georgia, they become a felon. Under current immigration law, undocumented felons are prioritized and targeted for deportation in record numbers.

“This is not accidental,” says Flavia Jimenez, a researcher for the Advancement Project, which is a non-profit civil rights organization based in Washington D.C. Jimenez has been studying how the 2008 driver’s license law in Georgia impacts the immigrant community. “It’s an intentional move to restrict the number of immigrants living in Georgia and make the quality of life for those immigrants that much poorer instead of better,” she tells Complex.

Indeed, Georgia’s driver’s license law, as well as other similar punitive laws in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Alabama, spring from the same ideological fount: attrition through enforcement. Made popular through right wing think tanks like the Center for Immigration Studies and activist lawyer and current secretary of state for Kansas, Kris Kobach, the doctrine of attrition argues that the federal government is failing to adequately deal with the problem of immigration. Therefore, it’s up to states and local police departments to reduce the immigrant population by creating a hostile work and life environment for them. The notion is that under attrition laws, life for the immigrant will be so costly, difficult, and dangerous, they will “self-deport.” Those who do not leave on their own accord will be easier to kick out of the country due to their various violations of attrition laws.