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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. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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