National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Indiana Attorney General Calls Parts of State’s Immigration Law Unconstitutional

July 31, 2012

Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced that following review of the Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s immigration law, he will no longer defend portions of Indiana’s immigration law, SEA 590, in court. Attorney General Zoeller recognized that parts of Indiana’s legislation that are comparable to Arizona’s S.B. 1070 law, including provisions giving local police unprecedented power to make warrantless arrests based on assumed immigration status, are pre-empted by federal law. Another portion of the law, regarding state recognition of consular identification cards, will remain the subject of litigation. Legal challenges to SEA 590’s provisions regarding employer sanctions and day laborers also continue. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.

“We applaud Attorney General Zoeller for recognizing that the writing is on the wall for critical portions of Indiana’s immigration law. The Supreme Court clearly blocked state immigration laws that interfere with the federal government’s immigration-enforcement authority. Other states inspired by Arizona also would be wise to slam the brakes on their unconstitutional legislation.

“The Indiana legislature need not look far for a common-sense approach on immigration. Last year, Attorney General Zoeller, a Republican, joined a bipartisan group of business, law enforcement, and religious leaders and advocates in signing the Indiana Compact, a set of principles to guide the immigration debate in Indiana, declaring that immigration enforcement should be handled at the federal level, not the state level.

“The Indiana Compact opened space for a reasonable debate on immigration in a solutions-oriented way. For the sake of all Hoosiers, Indiana legislators should follow the principles of the Indiana Compact and urge their federal delegation to move forward toward national solutions that create a workable immigration process.”

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