Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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March 30, 2013

Judge blocks two key provisions of Indiana's immigration law

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge on Friday permanently blocked Indiana from enforcing two key provisions of the state's immigration law, including one she said could have led to "serious abuses" by police.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker had granted a temporary injunction in June 2011, barring the law from taking effect that July while she weighed its constitutionality.

In Friday's ruling, Barker permanently blocked the state from enforcing a provision that gave local police power to make warrantless arrests based on certain immigration documents, including common documents known as notices of action.

" ... The power to arrest on that basis threatens serious abuses," Barker said in her ruling.

Barker wrote that because the provision "authorizes state and local law enforcement officers to effect warrantless arrests for matters that are not crimes, it runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment, and thus, is unconstitutional on those grounds."

Barker also permanently blocked a provision that would have prevented businesses and others from accepting consular ID cards as a valid form of identification. Her ruling said that provision violated "due process principles" and is pre-empted by federal law pertaining to U.S. relations with foreign nations.

Barker's ruling said many embassies and consulates issue consular IDs so that their citizens living aboard can receive consular services, be located by relatives and authorities or receive other notifications.

"In fact, it appears that the statute directly interferes with the rights bestowed on foreign nations by treaty by virtually nullifying the issuance of one of the tools used by foreign nations to exercise those rights," Barker wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and the National Immigration Law Center had sued the state over the law passed by Indiana lawmakers in 2011 and which was signed into law by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Ken Falk, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, praised Barker's ruling in a statement released Friday afternoon.

"This ruling demonstrates that the Constitution applies to all Indiana residents and that the state cannot presume to regulate immigration," Falk said in his statement.

In a separate order also issued Friday, Barker denied a motion filed by three Indiana lawmakers who authored the law.

Republican Senators Mike Delph, Brent Steele and Phil Boots had asked Barker to let them defend parts of the law that Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said his office would not defend following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a similar Arizona law.

After the June 2012 Arizona ruling, Zoeller had said the high court's ruling rendered invalid the same two provisions that Barker permanently blocked in Friday's ruling.

Zoeller released a statement Friday expressing his satisfaction with Barker's ruling and saying the state would not appeal.

"Now that the federal court decision reinforces what we said all along — that immigration enforcement is a federal government not a state responsibility — this case is at an end and the state will not appeal," Zoeller said.

Indiana Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, an Anderson Democrat, said in a statement that Barker's ruling confirmed the concerns he and other lawmakers had raised when the legislation was considered and ultimately approved by the General Assembly. He said the law portrayed "Indiana as intolerant" and left the state "entangled" in lengthy litigation.

"This ruling serves as a reminder to the legislature to be extremely careful when creating punitive public policy, which in the end, merely does a disservice to Hoosiers," Lanane said in his statement.

 

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