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Friday, April 22, 2011

Indiana House approves amended Arizona-style immigration bill
Alexandra Malatesta at 12:32 PM ET

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[JURIST] The Indiana House of Representatives [official website] on Thursday voted 64-32 to approve a bill [Amended SB 590 text; materials] considered to be a "watered-down" version of the Arizona immigration bill [JURIST news archive]. The amended bill proposes to revoke tax credits from businesses that hire illegal immigrants and would also require the use of the E-verify System to check the eligibility status of employees. The Indiana Senate passed a similar bill [JURIST report] in February by a 31-18 vote, but also included a controversial provision which would allow police officers to inquire into one's immigration status during a lawful stop, seizure, detention, or arrest. This provision was excluded from the amended bill approved by the House. Supporters of the legislation maintain it is necessary to act on immigration issues [AP report] because of Congress' failure to address the problem, while opponents contend that the bill could harm businesses within the state. The House and Senate are expected to begin work next week on a compromise version of the two bills. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) [official website] has indicated that he supports the House version of the legislation.

Alabama, Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah and Indiana [JURIST reports] have all approved Arizona-style immigration bills within the past year. Nonetheless, these type of laws remain controversial. Earlier this week, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] upheld [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] a lower court decision to enjoin several provisions of Arizona's controversial immigration law [SB 1070 materials]. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit [JURIST report] in July to permanently enjoin Arizona from enforcing the law, arguing that it is preempted by federal law and is thus a violation of the Supremacy Clause [text] of the US Constitution. In response, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website] countersued [JURIST report] the federal government alleging an infringement upon state rights. In May, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit [JURIST report] also seeking an injunction against Arizona's immigration law. The national debate over immigration issues has led President Barack Obama to call for comprehensive immigration reform [JURIST report].




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