Fairness needed on immigration


We’ve long argued that immigration reform is an issue that should be tackled by the federal government.

Last month’s initial meeting of the Indiana Senate Select Committee on Immigration — tasked with studying the impact “unauthorized aliens” have on Indiana and what the state can legally do — only supports that view.

The unwillingness and inability of those in the nation’s capital to act on this pressing matter has led to the current situation in Indiana and other states. Instead of working to overhaul a broken system, Congress has kicked the issue down the road time and time again. The result? A patchwork of state measures that don’t offer a real solution.

Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordville, alluded to this in his opening statement during the committee’s first meeting on April 19, noting that because Congress is not addressing immigration, states have to step up.

The Indiana Senate committee, led by state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, plans to hold six meetings and form recommendations for state immigration policy, regarding both legal and illegal immigration. Delph, a longtime vocal critic of illegal immigration, has promised to take a “fair and deliberative approach” to studying the issue.

That approach would call for a diversity of views to be represented, which wasn’t the case at the committee’s inaugural meeting. Invited to testify were Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state, and Dale Wilcox, executive director and general counsel for the Immigration Law Reform Institute.

Kobach helped draft Arizona’s 2010 stringent illegal immigration law, three provisions of which were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Southern Poverty Law Center links both men to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which it calls an “anti-immigration hate group.” In response, Wilcox calls that “their opinion.”

Delph and his testimony from his two guests accounted for two-thirds of the three-hour session. He has said that his biases won’t determine the committee’s outcome and that he will be inviting those with opposing views to speak. Let’s hope upcoming meetings — the next is scheduled for May 25 — better support Delph’s promise of fairness.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association.

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