IBJNews

Judge grills attorney for state over immigration law

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A federal judge grilled an attorney for the state of Indiana on Monday about the state's new immigration law, questioning how police would enforce the law and saying one of its provisions conflicts with federal law.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker heard 90 minutes of oral arguments on civil rights groups' request for a preliminary injunction blocking contested portions of the law. Barker said she would rule before the law passed by legislators in April takes effect July 1.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and the National Immigration Law Center sued the state over the law in May, contending it gives police sweeping arrest powers against immigrants who have not committed any crime.

The state attorney general's office argues such fears are exaggerated and based on misunderstanding of the law.

The civil rights groups aren't fighting all provisions of Indiana's wide-ranging law, but are contesting provisions allowing police to arrest immigrants under certain conditions, including if they face a removal order issued by an immigration court.

Their lawsuit argues some of those conditions are too broad, can apply widely to thousands of immigrants and violate the constitutional requirement of probable cause.

Ken Falk, an attorney for the ACLU of Indiana, told Barker the law also would allow police to arrest anyone who has been indicted or convicted of an aggravated felony — regardless of whether that person was cleared, released on bail or already served their sentence.

"It's not a crime to be indicted on a felony," he said. "No matter how you look at it, it allows people to be arrested for things that are not crimes."

The civil rights groups also contend the law's wording would allow the arrest of anyone who has had a notice of action filed by immigration authorities, a formal paperwork step that affects virtually anyone applying to be in the U.S. for any reason.

Barker peppered deputy attorney general Betsy Isenberg with questions about how police officers would enforce the law given those concerns and what she said is the reality that it can take up to two weeks to get answers from federal immigration officials on specific cases — time a person arrested under the law would spend in jail, waiting for immigration officials to bring law enforcement up to date on their case.

"Two weeks is a small price to pay, is that what you're saying?" Barker asked Isenberg, adding that "it's not exactly an easy thing to get a quick response" from immigration officials.

The judge said she's concerned about how the state's police officers — from sheriff's deputies to small town police — would enforce the new law. Barker also raised the possibility that an officer upset that a judge had released on bail a person facing a felony indictment could use the law to thumb his nose at the judiciary and re-arrest that person.

"The police officer could say, 'Watch this judge!'" she said.

Indiana's new law also includes a provision making it illegal for immigrants to use ID cards issued by foreign consulates as proof of identification. Falk told Barker he estimates the Mexican consulate in Indianapolis has issued about 70,000 such ID cards and they are "highly secure documents."

He said Indiana's law targeting those ID cards would interfere with foreign treaties allowing those documents.

Under questioning from Barker, Isenberg conceded the ID card provision conflicts with the Treasury Department's use of those ID cards for bank transactions. Barker then asked Isenberg why federal law wouldn't supersede Indiana's new law.

"We have a conflict. We have a direct conflict," she told Isenberg.

State immigration enforcement laws have not recently fared well in federal courts.

A federal judge blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona's law last year before it took effect. A federal appeals court upheld the decision, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has said she plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last month, a Utah law giving police the authority to arrest anyone who cannot prove their citizenship was put on hold by a federal judge 14 hours after it went into effect. The next hearing there is scheduled in July.

And in Georgia, a federal judge on Monday heard arguments on whether that state's law can take effect next month. Like in Indiana, that judge listened to the arguments and said he'd likely rule before the law is set to take effect July 1.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Immigration Law
    So the law is unconstitutional because the federal government is inept and takes too long to get information it should have been following up on to begin with? Maybe if it spent less time going after the states for trying to solve the problem it could help enforce its own already existing laws. It seems as though Judge Barker has her mind made up.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

ADVERTISEMENT