Indiana to stand firm on immigration law

June 22, 2011

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The state of Indiana says it will defend its controversial immigration law in federal court. The law won’t take effect until July 1, but it’s already drawn fire — and a court challenge — from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU was in Indianapolis Monday to ask U.S District Judge Sarah Evans Barker to block two provisions. The first bans the use of foreign identification cards, even if those cards are approved for use by treaty or by the federal government. The U.S. Treasury currently allows banks to accept the “matricula consular” issued by Mexico. Banks and other institutions in the Hoosier state would no longer be allowed to accept them as identification.

The ACLU also asked the federal judge to block a provision that allows local police in Indiana to arrest immigrants whose status has not been determined by an immigration court.  ACLU attorney Ken Falk told Barker that the law gives police sweeping powers to arrest immigrants who haven't committed any crime.

For its part, Indiana officials say the state won’t budge. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the state will defend all provisions of its new immigration law even if, as he says, it’s not perfect. “Everyone agrees that the federal government has failed in its responsibility to define our statutes and enforce them,” Zoeller said. “So the states are all left struggling with the problems and failures of the federal government.”

Barker said she expects to rule on the ACLU’s request for injunction before July 1.