Immigration opponent to testify before Indiana Senate committee

A Kansas state official who is claiming he wrote parts of Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border is scheduled to testify April 19 before a newly  formed Indiana Senate committee on immigration.

Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, is listed as among those who will speak at the first meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Immigration Issues. The committee, formed by a February 2016 memorandum from Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, has been charged with examining “unauthorized aliens” in Indiana, including their impact on the state’s economy, security and workforce as well as what actions Indiana can take under federal law.

In a statement, committee chair, Sen. Mike Delph, emphasized the group’s neutrality.

“The committee will take a fair and deliberate approach to studying the effects of illegal and legal immigration in Indiana,” he said. “This is an important fact-finding process. Committee members are making no prejudgments on these complex issues.”

The committee’s first meeting is set to start at 1 p.m. April 19 in Room 431 in the Statehouse. Other sessions will follow through the summer and early fall with the final hearing scheduled for Nov. 2. At the end of its work, the committee must submit a report containing recommendations for the General Assembly to consider during the 2017 session.

Kobach will testify at the first meeting, which according to Delph, will provide an overview of immigration law, especially Indiana’s statute which took effect 2011. Also scheduled to appear is Dale Wilcox, executive director and general counsel for the Immigration Law Reform Institute. According to the institute’s website, it is “working to defend the rights and interest of the American people from the negative and predatory effects of unlawful immigration and ungoverned legal immigration.”

Described as an “immigration hard-liner,” Kobach made headlines most recently when he took credit for part of GOP presidential candidate Trump’s plan to stem illegal border-crossings. Kobach told the Topeka Capita-Journal it was his idea to force Mexico to pay for the wall by threatening to block remittances sent from immigrants to family in that country.  

Delph previously has crossed paths with Kobach. The Kansas official was among those who filed a motion to intervene when Delph along with Sens. Phil Boots and Brent Steele sought to counter a ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States which found sections of a strict immigration law passed by the Legislature in 2011 were unconstitutional.

Kobach is listed as of counsel on the ILRI’s website.

“Our goal is to provide a forum where committee members and the public can become better informed,” Delph said. “Ultimately I hope this will help the General Assembly make more informed public policy decisions on these issues in the future.”

Along with Delph, other members of the committee are Republicans Boots, Crawfordsville; and Chip Perfect, Lawrenceburg; and Democrats Jim Arnold, LaPorte; and Frank Mrvan, Hammond.

Other committee meetings are scheduled for 1 p.m. May 25, June 15, Aug. 17, Sept. 21 and Nov. 2. All will be held in the Statehouse Room 431.  

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