HAMMOND, Ind. (CN) – Indiana’s new immigration law, which took effect July 1, is unconstitutional, the nonprofit Union Benefica Mexicana claims in Federal Court.
The Union challenges the constitutionality of Indiana’s Senate Bill 590, which created “an array of new state-law criminal and civil offenses related to immigration.” Defendant Gov. Mitch Daniels signed it on May 11 and it took effect July 1.
The Union calls it “an impermissible encroachment into an area of exclusive federal authority,” in violation of the 4th and 14th Amendments, the Supremacy Clause and the Contracts Clause.
They also contest its raison d’etre, saying its “purpose is to express that Indiana will not be a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.”
The Union claims SB 590, codified as Indiana Code §§ 22-4-39.5 and 22-5-6, “fundamentally conflicts” with the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, which states there is no single characteristic that decides whether a person can remain in the United States.
The Union says it provides cultural, educational and health programs to the Hispanic communities in Northwest Indiana.
“On April 29, 2011, the Indiana Legislature enacted SB 590, a comprehensive system of state laws whose purpose is to express that Indiana will not be a sanctuary for illegal immigrants,” the complaint states. The law penalizes business owners who knowingly hire illegal immigrants and requires day laborers to complete employment authorization forms. It allows police officers to arrest, with probable cause, people who have not filled out such forms.
“SB 590 attempts to create a legal regime regulating and restricting immigration and punishing those whom Indiana deems to be in violation of immigration laws. It is an impermissible encroachment into an area of exclusive federal authority and will interfere and conflict with the comprehensive federal immigration system enacted by Congress and implemented through a complex web of federal regulations and policies,” the complaint states.
Union Benefica Mexicana seeks declaratory judgment that SB 590 is unconstitutional and an injunction to prohibit its enforcement. It is represented by Alonzo Rivas with Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, of Chicago.