ACLU of Indiana files suit against immigration legislation

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court's Southern District of Indiana, challenging the wording of a new Indiana law designed to curb illegal immigration.

The class-action complaint and challenge to constitutionality of state statute calls into question the legality of two portions of Senate Enrolled Act 590.

The ACLU challenges the act’s revision to Indiana Code Section 35-33-1-1 that states a police officer may arrest a person who: has been issued a removal order by an immigration court; has been issued a detainer or notice of action by the United States Department of Homeland Security; or, probable cause exists that the person has been indicted for or convicted of one or more aggravated felonies (as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)).

Earlier this month, Angela Adams, an attorney for Lewis & Kappes who assisted in filing the complaint, said a notice of action or detainer is not an arrest warrant.

The complaint reads: “Insofar as SEA 590 authorizes state and local law enforcement officers to arrest persons without reasonable suspicion or probable cause of any unlawful conduct, much less criminal activity, it violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable seizures.”

The suit also challenges a sentence that says anyone who knowingly accepts consular identification as a valid ID commits a Class C infraction, a Class B infraction for a second offense, and a Class A infraction for any subsequent offense.

Adams pointed out that consular ID’s are issued by an immigrant’s birth country, and that immigrants may rely on those ID’s as proof of age or identity in important transactions like bank business.  

“SEA 590’s prohibition on consular identification cards is directly preempted by federal regulations that authorize banks to accept foreign government-issued photo identification for verifying the identity of account holders,” the complaint states.

The suit says that the plaintiffs bring this action on their own behalf and on behalf of two classes of similarly situated persons against the defendants, pursuant to Rule 23(a) and (b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

The individuals named as plaintiffs include two Mexican citizens – one who lives in Marion County and has been a lawful permanent resident of the United States since 2001, and one who lives in Johnson County. Also named as a plaintiff is a citizen of Nigeria who had a removal order issued against her in 2006. She is currently free on an order of supervision, reporting to the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement every six months. Under the new law, her status would make her subject to arrest.

The first class is comprised of “all persons in Marion and Johnson Counties, Indiana, or who will be in Marion and Johnson Counties, Indiana, who are or will be subject to warrantless arrest pursuant to Section 19 of SEA 590 based on a determination that: a removal order issued against them by an immigration court;  have, or will have, a detainer or notice of action issued for or against them by the United States Department of Homeland Security; or they have been, or will be, indicted for or convicted of one (1) or more aggravated felonies, as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43).”

The second class (“Class B”) is defined as “all persons in Marion and Johnson Counties, Indiana, or who will be in Marion and Johnson Counties, Indiana, who possess, or will posses, a valid consular identification card and are using it, or will use it, for non-fraudulent identification purposes.”

Defendants in the complaint are: the city of Indianapolis, the Marion and Johnson County prosecutors, the city of Franklin, and the Johnson County sheriff.

Other attorneys who have signed on to the case come from the national ACLU Foundation Immigrants’ Rights Project (New York and San Francisco offices), and the National Immigration Law Center.


  • Fine the Politicians who made this law -- duh
    This is exactly what happens when inept politicians run their mouth without engaging their brains or knowledge of the law. What a waste of time at taxpayers expense. These politicians should be fined the same amount they have established for wasting taxpayers money and getting down to business of the work they were to perform

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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.