Indiana Immigration Bill Among Measures Awaiting Final Action

by Rick Howlett on April 18, 2011

Indiana state lawmakers return to the Statehouse today for the final two weeks of the General Assembly.

Measures still awaiting final action include the state budget, charter school legislation, a redistricting proposal and an immigration bill.

The immigration measure that cleared the Senate was heavily amended last week by a House committee.

The panel took out its Arizona-style provision that would have allowed police to ask people for proof of immigration status if they were suspected of being in the country illegally.

It now focuses more on employers. The bill would revoke certain tax credits for businesses that hire illegal immigrants. It would still authorize authorities to check the immigration status of criminal offenders.

The House Public Policy Committee heard several hours of public testimony on the bill last week. Supporters say something should be done to restrict illegal immigration after failed attempts on the federal level.

But Juan Escareno of the group Transforming Action Through Power says it still sends a message that certain foreigners are not welcome in Indiana.

“Even though this bill has been softened, the perception is still there in our community that this bill is still attacking us. The perception Is still there that this bill is geared toward Mexicans and immigrants,” he said.

The bill’s Senate sponsor has not indicated publicly if he would support the House changes.

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