(AP) — Indiana’s proposed immigration bill no longer includes an
Arizona-style provision that would have allowed police to ask people for
proof of immigration status if they suspected they were in the country
The House Public
Policy Committee on Thursday removed several sections of the bill proposed
by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel. The committee plans to take a vote Friday on
the bill, which would still revoke certain tax credits for businesses that
hire illegal immigrants, check the immigration status of criminal offenders,
require Indiana to seek reimbursement from Congress for the costs of illegal
immigration and implement other changes.
"There are a lot
of good things remaining in the bill,” Delph said.
The changes made
Thursday are in line with what Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels wants. Daniels
told The Indianapolis Star this week the immigration bill should focus more
on employers and less on law enforcement. Earlier in the year, Daniels
declined to take a public stance on the bill, which had been opposed by the
conservative Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indiana’s Republican attorney
general and others.
Delph, who has
proposed bills to crack down on illegal immigration for years, said he was
glad to hear Daniels take a stand.
been missing in action for four years,” Delph said. “I’m glad that he
finally got out of his ivory tower and weighed in on this issue.”
If the revised
bill eventually clears the GOP-led House, it would go back to the
Republican-ruled Senate for consideration of the changes.
Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Thursday that many senators agree
with the new changes, and suggested the Senate could simply agree to the
House version instead of trying to hammer out a compromise. Delph said he
would talk to his fellow Senate Republicans about whether to concur with the
House version once the House finishes its work on the proposal.
Delph’s original bill told lawmakers Thursday that removing the
Arizona-style provision was an improvement. Critics had worried that that
part of the bill would have led to racial profiling and would have sent a
message that Indiana is not a welcoming place — a message they argued would
hurt tourism and companies looking to recruit an international workforce.
officials said they still oppose the bill and noted that Indiana farmers
rely on migrant workers to pick crops like tomatoes and melons. Several
opponents argued that Congress should be responsible for immigration, which
they said was a federal issue that shouldn’t be tackled in 50 different ways
at the state level.
“It has to be a
national solution,” said John Livengood, a lobbyist who represents
restaurant and hospitality groups and who is co-chair of the Alliance for
Immigration Reform in Indiana.
Delph’s bill included some who argued that illegal immigrants were taking
jobs away from American citizens and others who came to the country legally.
Marty Upton, who came to America from Germany years ago and now lives in
Carmel, said immigrants should follow legal paths to come to the U.S.
“I am proud to
be an American,” she said. “We are a nation of laws."