ACLU Files Suit Over Indiana Immigration Laws

Group Hopes To Block Laws Denying In-State Tuition, Revoking Tax Credits

The ACLU of Indiana filed suit Wednesday on behalf of foreign-born people over immigration laws Gov. Mitch Daniels recently signed.

The Indiana Legislature passed two bills in April concerning illegal immigrants, one that denies in-state tuition at state-supported universities and another that revokes some tax credits for businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

One of the proposals originally had Arizona-style language that would have allowed police officers to ask a person for proof of immigration status if they had a reasonable suspicion a person is in the country illegally, but that language was pulled out of the bill before it passed.

A provision that would have required all state documents to be in English was also taken out of the bill before it passed.

Still, ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk said the Senate bill would allow law enforcement officers to arrest anyone who has even been indicted or convicted of an aggravated felony, whether they are immigrants or U.S. citizens.

Falk said he also takes issue with the new law because it makes it illegal for foreign nationals to use consular IDs in Indiana.

He said the regulations passed should have been left to the federal government.

"Immigration is an area where the law is quite clear. There is one policy and one voice and that's the federal voice," Falk said. "Each state does not have the right to create its own immigration policy."

Earlier this month, several students, most of them undocumented, were arrested in a protest at the Indiana Statehouse. They were later released.

Felipe Vargas, director of programs for the Latino Youth Collective, commended the ACLU of Indiana for filing the suit.

"I think it is very timely and very needed," Vargas said. "It's just unfortunate that (the government is) scapegoating certain community members because they're immigrants."

State Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, who sponsored the legislation, criticized the lawsuit in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

"It appears the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against citizens of Indiana in favor of illegal immigrants. This is not surprising given their very liberal leanings," he said.

Prosecutors for both Marion and Johnson counties were among the defendants named in the suit. Representatives did not immediately provide comment Wednesday.

More Information: Read Full Lawsuit