Photo: State of Indiana
Indiana State Sen. Mike Delph, R- Carmel not only wants to implement a Arizona style bill but wants to bar the use of any language but English in most government transactions.
“We’re taking the handcuffs off of law enforcement. We’re holding employers who are thumbing their noses at the law accountable. And we’re lifting up the English language,” Delph said Friday.
Opposition groups fear the bill will lead to profiling and hurting businesses in the state.
“I’m worried that the unintended consequences of what he’s doing is to put a sign on our state saying we don’t want immigrants,” said John Livengood, co-chairman of the Alliance for Immigration Reform in Indiana, a coalition of groups that want to see immigration reforms left to the feds.
Senate Bill 590 is a thirty page proposal and includes:
-requires state and local law enforcement officers who stop anyone for violating a law or ordinance to ask for proof that the person is here legally if the officers have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is not a citizen or legal visitor
- Businesses that hire illegal immigrants can be shut down.
- Most government transactions, documents and meetings would be in English. The state would shut down their Spanish language portal and printing forms, ballots in other languages
-The state will bill to Congress for reimbursement of all costs for undocumented residents in Indiana.
-No financial aid, scholarships or grants for education at U of I and would have to pay out of state tuition.
- Cities and counties would be barred from limiting the enforcement of federal immigration laws.( No Sanctuary Cities)
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Indiana was estimated to have 120,000 illegal immigrants in 2009, up from 10,000 in 1990.
“This is going to lead to profiling almost surely,” Livengood , Alliance for Immigration Reform in Indiana co-chair, said. “Our biggest fear—my biggest fear—is that Indiana becomes known as a state where immigrants aren’t welcome.”
Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, a Hammond Democrat who is one of two Hispanics in the legislature, agreed.
“While I don’t condone illegal activity, it’s pretty foolhardy to pass a bill modeled after a bill being litigated in federal court,” she said.
The bill has already been promised a hearing in the Senate Pensions and Labor Committee. Ten senators have signed on as co-sponsors, and Delph expects more.
He predicted: “This is going to fly.”