Washington agreement on immigration reform put Indiana debate on hold

Both supporters and opponents of immigration reform here in Indiana are fond of saying that it’s a national problem that requires a federal solution.  They may soon get their way in light of Monday’s announcement that key Senators have reached a compromise.

Just two years ago Indiana passed one of the toughest immigration laws in the country in a fight led by state Senator Mike Delph (R-Carmel.)  Much of that law was struck down by a federal judge in a case that is still tied up in the federal courts.

In 2011 there were protests, including one that led to the arrests of college students who objected to one provision in particular.  “Targeting us,” said Karla Lopez Owens at the time, “and then making it so we can’t pursue a higher education because we can’t afford it.”  And Monday GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma said, if anything, lawmakers should go back to undo that provision.  “A high school student that graduates here from Indiana schools that was brought here by their parents is subject to out of state tuition,” he said.  “That has caused me to think just a little bit.  Certainly we want these people to be productive.”

Hispanic lawmaker Rep. Mara Candalaria Reardon (D-Hammond) agrees.  “I think that we’ve sort of bought into the hype that we saw in Arizona and other states,” said Candelaria Reardon, “and I think that it’s excellent that the federal government has started to move in that direction.”

And while Senator Delph sees it differently.  “I don’t think there’s a need right now for the state of Indiana to revisit anything that we passed,” he said. He also filed no legislation this year dealing with immigration.

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