Monday, February 18, 2008

Illegal immigration bill moves forward

Illegal immigration bill moves forward |
The Indiana House Public Policy Committee voted this morning to approve one of the nation's toughest illegal immigration bills, but only after making a number of changes to the legislation.

The committee voted 7-4 to pass SB 335, which would punish employers for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.
Among the changes made by the committee was the addition of $1.5 million in funding to help the Attorney General's office and the State Police enforce the legislation. Previously, SB 335 included no money to fund enforcement.

Because the committee added a fiscal impact to the bill, it is now expected to move before the House Ways and Means committee for approval.

Lawmakers also changed SB 335 to apply to all employees. As previously written, the bill only would have applied to workers who worked a certain number of hours within a 12-month period.

The committee also changed the bill to place the responsibility of prosecuting employers from county prosecutor to administrative law judges in the state department of labor.

The bill also would require all employers to use the federal E-Verify system to confirm whether a potential employee is a legal citizen.

Under another change made to SB 335 this morning, the governor would be given the ability to review an administrative law judge's decision to revoke an employer's state license.

As previously written, if an employer was found guilty of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants three times within a 10-year period, the business would lose its state license. Under changes made today, that period was reduced to five years.

While Democrats argued the changes approved this morning made the bill stronger, Republicans pointed to other alterations they say made the bill weaker.

Among those was a change that allowed the State Police Department to choose whether to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with the federal government to enforce federal immigration law. As previously written, the bill required State Police to enter the agreement.

Democrats argued the State Police Department needed the option in case the terms of the agreement weren't favorable.

Another change in the bill dictated that the attorney general "may" inform the department of labor's administrative law judges about possible violations while the legislation previously required the attorney general to refer all cases to local prosecutors.

The bill's author, Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, did not attend the hearing. But its sponsor in the House, Rep. Vern Tincher, D-Riley, said he was optimistic the bill would move through the House Ways and Means committee and then pass the full House.

No comments:

Average Joe's Review Store