State Senator To Introduce Immigration Bill

State senator to introduce immigration bill

By Kevin Rader
The WTHR TV News (Indianapolis), January 20, 2009

Indianapolis — An Indiana lawmaker is introducing what he calls the toughest immigration bill in the country.

Illegal immigration has been a controversial issue at the Indiana Statehouse for the last couple of years, drawing heated debate in both chambers from both sides of the issue. Senator Mike Delph from Carmel will make it a third year by filing Senate Bill 580. The bill is designed to punish those who harbor, transport or employ illegal immigrants in Indiana.

But it does have a 'safe harbor' provision for businesses who verify work status of employees by using the federal e-verify system that confirms citizenship.

'If you use it, you have immunity from any kind of adjudication or prosecution from this proposal,' Delph said.

Under the bill, businesses that employ illegals face three years probation. Second time violators face a 10-day suspension of their business license and third time violators face the permanent loss of their business license in the state.

While the future of the bill may be clouded, it does have a hearing set for February 4 in the Senate's Pension and Labor Committee.

'You can't say we are a melting pot in the U.S.A. and then single some people out,' said Wilson Reyes, the current president of the Indiana State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Reyes, who hosts an afternoon radio talk show on WEDJ in Indianapolis, sees it differently.

'If you write a bill saying an illegal is illegal, yes, absolutely. We totally stand on that. The Indiana State Chamber of Commerce is totally behind that,' he said. 'Doing anything illegal is wrong, but this is a federal issue and it should stay with the federal government.'

'We need to follow the letter and rule of law and right now, the rule of law says those that are in the country illegally need to return to their home country and then file the paperwork to come in the legal way,' Delph said.


Bills target hiring of illegal workers
Lawmakers: Measures would make jobs available for Hoosiers
By Bill Ruthhart and Tania E. Lopez
The Indianapolis Star, January 19, 2009