Indiana immigration bill gets first hearing

February 10, 2011

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A proposal meant to curtail illegal immigration in Indiana is moving forward.

A state senate committee held a hearing Wednesday on Senate Bill 590.

If passed, the bill would allow state and local police to arrest anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally.

Anticipating the measure’s introduction in the Indiana House, State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, questioned why the bill is a priority for the legislature’s Republican majority.

Reardon said the measure would create an environment where police would be distracted from going after “real criminals.”.

And, she said, similar measures in other states have met legal challenges.

“It’s foolhardy to support legislation that currently being litigated in the federal courts. It’s absolutely 100 percent wrong,” Reardon said.

Proponents argue Indiana needs to step into the immigration issue because the federal government ignores enforcement in the Midwest. .

In a press release, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller expressed concern about how such a measure would be implemented..

Zoeller, a Republican, said immigration enforcement would drain scant state resources. He also said the federal government should tackle enforcement, since immigration is a federal issue.

Late Wednesday, the Pensions and Labor Committee of the Indiana Senate approved the bill. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.