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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.

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  • 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. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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