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Immigration law challenge moves forward in Northern District

August 15, 2012

U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich in Hammond Tuesday granted the state’s unopposed motion to lift the stay of a lawsuit in the Northern District challenging portions of Indiana’s immigration law dealing with employment.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund filed the suit on behalf of Union Benefica Mexican in December 2011 concerning Indiana Code 22-4-39.5 and 22-5-6. Those statutes deal with the verification of one’s eligibility to work in the U.S.

The suit, Union Benefica Mexican v. State of Indiana, et al., 2:11-CV-482, claims the immigration law passed in 2011 violates the Fourth and 11th amendments, the supremacy clause and the contracts clause. The lawsuit focuses on two sections of the new law: one that allows the Department of Workforce Development to file civil actions against employers for reimbursement of unemployment insurance if they knowingly employed illegal immigrants; and a second that prohibits someone from performing day labor without filing an attestation of employment authorization.

The case was put on hold pending the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Arizona v. United States, 11-182. The justices issued their opinion June 25, and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed the motion to lift stay and set deadlines in Union Benefica Mexicana Aug. 6.

The state has until Aug. 31 to respond to Union Benefica Mexicana’s motion for preliminary injunction. The plaintiff has until Sept. 14 to respond to the state’s filings.

Zoeller did concede as a result of Arizona that a warrantless arrest for a removal order, a notice of action, or the commission of an aggravated felony that would subject the arrestee to removal in Indiana is unconstitutional. That issue is part of a lawsuit brought in the Southern District by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. Zoeller maintains that other challenged portions, such as the use of consular-issued identification cards, can survive despite the Arizona ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court found certain portions of Arizona’s tough immigration law to be pre-empted by federal law, including the section that authorizes officers to arrest someone without a warrant whom the officer has probable cause to believe has committed any public offense that makes the person removable..

 

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