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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Indiana Senate Dems say they'll offer 3 immigration bills

    Indiana Senate Dems say they'll offer 3 immigration bills

    Zach Osowski ,
    5:26 p.m. EST November 10, 2016

    (Photo: File)

    INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Senate Democrats announced Thursday they would push immigration-related legislation, while Republicans decided to take a wait-and-see approach.
    During the sixth and final meeting of the Immigration Issues Committee at the Statehouse, Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, said his caucus would be introducing at least three bills based on findings from the study committee. All the bills will aim to help the plight of undocumented people in Indiana.

    The first would deal with college tuition prices for undocumented immigrants in Indiana. Currently, college students who don’t have documentation and want to go to school in Indiana have to pay out-of-state tuition costs, which can be thousands of dollars more per semester. Mrvan said he would want to introduce a bill allowing them to access in-state tuition.

    The other two bills will deal with documentation cards, including one that would simply show identification in case of emergency. Mrvan said he learned from testimony that law enforcement doesn’t know how to find family members when dealing with undocumented immigrants.

    The final proposal will be a driver’s license for illegal immigrants, which would help alleviate issues with those who are driving without proper documentation and insurance. The card that would allow them to operate a vehicle but couldn’t be used for anything else, Mrvan said.

    Those potential bills were not part of the committee's official final report or recommendations.

    Committee Chair Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, didn’t offer any potential legislation at the meeting. He said afterwards the committee report would be presented to the Republican caucus and they would go from there.

    Delph said, along with other members of the committee, that this is a problem that really needs to be address at the federal level. There are not a lot of things Indiana can do to slow or stop illegal immigration.

    One approach the state could take is on the business side of things. Delph said the General Assembly could pass a bill removing the business license of any business hiring illegal aliens. He didn't indicate if that legislation would be introduced during the 2017 session.

    Michael Ripley, the vice president of Health Care and Labor Employment Policy for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said he wasn’t surprised at the lack of recommendations and doesn’t think a bill targeting business licenses will be introduced.

    “I think we showed the committee this needs to be handled at the Federal level,” Ripley said. “Making businesses de facto border agents isn’t the right way to go.”

    Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, said the lack of action at the federal level is hurting states who have to deal with illegal immigration.

    “It’s frustrating to me that we have a limited ability to address this,” Boots said. “I think it would behoove us to talk to our federal legislators to see if there’s some way to take this on."

    Delph said with President-elect Donald Trump in command soon, he thinks the mood in Washington D.C. will change. He said Trump has campaigned heavily on immigration reform and now has a mandate from voters to make reform a reality.

    Trump, among other things, has called for a wall to be built on the Mexican / U.S. border, a suspension of the Syrian refugee program and the deportation of all illegal immigrants currently in the country.


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