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Would bill make immigrants feel unwelcome?

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Indiana Lawyer Focus

As a contentious immigration law that went into effect in Arizona last summer continues to be challenged and further changes are being considered by Arizona lawmakers, similar bills at the state and local level, including one in the Indiana Statehouse, have been gaining traction.

Last year’s Arizona bill increases the authority of police officers to arrest and detain undocumented immigrants. Senate Bill 590 in Indiana goes beyond that to include provisions that some fear could affect both legal and illegal immigrants, leading to racial profiling.

A prominent group of civic leaders including the Indiana attorney general, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, presidents of universities in Indiana, leaders of domestic violence organizations, and others have signed the Indiana Compact of the Alliance for Immigration Reform in Indiana to say they oppose the immigration legislation.

The bill has also caused concern among at least two of Indiana’s largest employers, Eli Lilly and Cummins, which have publicly said the bill will send the wrong message to their many employees who are legal immigrants and have relocated to Indiana to work for them.

SB 590 has the support of the majority of the Indiana Senate. It passed with a 31-18 vote Feb. 22. No Senate Democrats voted for the bill, and five Republicans voted against it. The one excused senator was the bill’s author, Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, who was taking the Indiana bar exam on the day of the vote.

“Today’s vote was a key step in the legislative process,” Delph said in a statement Feb. 22. Delph has authored and supported similar legislation in past sessions. “I will continue to work with my fellow lawmakers to send a clear message that Indiana will no longer be a sanctuary for people who are in our state and country illegally because of our federal government’s failure to act on illegal immigration,” he said.

Various organizations testified on behalf of the bill during debate at the committee level, including employers who use e-Verify to determine if employees are able to work in the United States legally, an expert on homeland security, and veterans’ organizations who expressed concern about Mexican citizens who commit crimes, including violent gang activity.

Yet outside of that hearing, protesters carried signs that said “Yes, I’m American but I’m not fascist” and “Welcome to Indiana, home of the Super Bowl where you will be racially profiled.”

In addition to expanding the authority of local and state police regarding illegal immigrants, which has caused concerns of racial profiling, the bill would require employers to use the e-Verify System; the Indiana Department of Correction to verify citizenship of offenders committed to a correctional facility; the Indiana Department of Workforce Development to verify citizenship before determining eligibility for unemployment benefits; and the Indiana State Police to consider training of federal immigration and customs laws for officers. It would establish penalties for anyone who knowingly transports, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection an illegal immigrant for commercial or private financial gain; and it would require English to be used in public meetings, public documents, and by officers and employees of state or political subdivisions.

Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis professor and immigration law expert Maria Pabon Lopez has been following the legislation and stories about other legislation, including the Arizona law.

She said the Indiana legislation seemed misguided because there is already federal legislation in place. It would be costly, she said, to train police officers on customs and immigration issues.

“Indiana already has an ICE office in Indianapolis, and they already have their priorities,” she said of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. If anything, she said, it would make more sense for state and local police to work with ICE instead of the Legislature implementing a state law about how police officers interact with immigrants.

Seven lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s immigration law, including one by the U.S. Department of Justice in July 2010. Those cases in the Arizona District Court, all before the same judge, have all been dismissed, except for the Department of Justice case. It was heard by the 9th Circuit Nov. 1, 2010. No decision had been issued as of Feb. 25.

On Feb. 10, 2011, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne filed suit against the federal government, claiming that the federal government was violating Arizona’s 10th Amendment rights.

Michael A. Olivas, an immigration law professor at the University of Houston Law Center, mentioned other law suits, including one in Farmers Branch, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.

Farmers Branch was one of the first towns to pass an ordinance targeted at undocumented immigrants. The ordinance was challenged by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. MALDEF won, Olivas said, but the litigation will cost Farmers Branch. He said it could take years for MALDEF to collect their costs and attorney fees.

As for the Arizona law, he said, “It’s working if you want to bankrupt your state and drive out anybody who doesn’t look white and if you want to draw critical attention to yourself.”

Olivas also mentioned various studies regarding how the Arizona legislation has led to the state losing money.

A November 2010 study by the Center for American Progress, linked to the Immigration Policy Center’s website, looks at lost revenue as a result of conferences that boycotted Arizona.

“Arizona’s Hotel and Lodging Association publicly reported a combined loss of $15 million in lodging revenue due to meeting cancellations just four months after the bill’s passage,” the report stated. “Our extensive research estimates that the actual lost lodging revenue from these cancellations is at least three times that amount: $45 million. That estimate provides a basis for calculating other losses in visitor spending. Analyzing average food and beverage, entertainment, in-town transportation, and retail sales brings the combined loss of estimated conference attendee spending up to a startling $141 million.”

Lopez added this could be a concern for the Super Bowl and other large events in Indianapolis that might be boycotted if a similar law was passed here.

In response to concerns about homeland security and other issues, Lopez and Olivas agreed that this bill would not necessarily deter terrorist threats. They also compared the crime rates of undocumented immigrants and the general population and said more crimes were committed by U.S. citizens.

In a joint statement, Eli Lilly and Cummins expressed concerns that the bill would hurt economic and business development in Indiana in the engineering and bioscience fields.

Attorney Robert F. Seidler Jr., a shareholder in the Indianapolis office of Ogletree Deakins’ labor and employment practice, said he has been keeping clients informed of what the bill might mean for them.

One provision that led to concern by employers but was removed from the bill, he said, was the three strikes rule. Under that rule, if an employer knowingly employs an illegal immigrant and is caught three times, the business would lose its license. The first or second time there would be probationary periods with supervision.

He said employers are still concerned about the e-Verify requirements for various reasons, including that e-Verify isn’t 100 percent accurate. He added some employers may not realize that e-Verify is in addition to, and not to be used as a substitute for, the I-9 form, which is also used to determine if someone is legally able to work in the United States based on his or her immigrant status.

The bill is now under consideration by the Indiana House of Representatives and is sponsored by Rep. Eric A. Koch, R-Bedford. Koch also wrote an amicus brief last September supporting the state of Arizona in the lawsuit filed against it by the U.S. Department of Justice.•

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  • Documentation?
    My only concern about Arizona's law, and Indiana's proposed law, is how are people supposed to verify citizenship if stopped by the police? If a cop stopped me today and asked me to verify my citizenship, about the only thing I could show them is my driver's license, and I don't know if that would suffice. So unless we go to a national ID system, I just don't understand how that part of it is supposed to work.
  • Vote For SB 590
    Attorneys = "Show me the money"

    SB 590 = Safer America / Safer Indiana (illegals go home)!

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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

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