A project of the Center for Community Change

Indiana Immigration Activists Save State from following Arizona’s Errant Path

People rally against SB 590 in Indianapolis

When Indiana state Sen. Michael Delph wrote his immigration enforcement bill, he fully intended it to be a carbon copy of the bill that thrust Arizona into the national spotlight, made it the target of boycotts and further solidified the state’s reputation as one the least tolerant. Delph wanted that for Indiana.

But Indiana is not Arizona. Not by a long shot. And not when motivated residents are involved, including my group Transforming Action through Power. To fight the most onerous aspects of SB 590, we made the 3 ½ hour trip to Indianapolis from South Bend four times, including one trip with three buses.

The meetings, rallies, nights of staying up reading the federal code paid off. The bill as it stands is one Delph doesn’t even recognize:

  1. Racial Profiling removed
  2. English-only provision removed
  3. In-state tuition restrictions for undocumented students removed
  4. Landlord and employer mandated use of e-verify was watered down so that it will only be an option
  5. 287g removed (police acting like immigration officials)
  6. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number restrictions removed

Like so many states that have put the brakes on following Arizona’s wrong-headed path, the bill introduced by Delph would have been disastrous for businesses, and as the 9th Circuit Court recently reminded us, many of the provisions removed are likely unconstitutional.

The bill is still flawed, but now the Republicans’ response to the broken immigration system will have minimal impact on our immigrant communities.  This bill has continually been presented for the last four years, and we have effectively watered it down so that it hopefully does not come back as an Arizona law on steroids.  We should celebrate that. We should also celebrate that despite a General Assembly controlled by one party, we saved our communities from illegal searches and profiling by the police.  Yes we can!

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