Hoosier Leaders React to Immigration Order

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Political leaders throughout the state are sounding off on President Obama's executive action regarding immigration reform. Governor Mike Pence says the president should reverse his decision, calling it "an unacceptable end run around the democratic process." Congressmen Andr? Carson (D-7) supports the order, saying he hopes it will push Congress to act. Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the move "exceeded his authority."

November 20, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Governor Mike Pence issued the below statement this evening following President Obama's decision to act unilaterally on immigration.

"Tonight the President announced his plan to by-pass Congress by issuing an executive order changing American immigration laws. While reasonable people can differ on ways to improve our nation's broken immigration system, the President's unilateral action is an unacceptable end run around the democratic process and must be reversed. The proper place to debate immigration policy is through the legislative process defined in our Constitution. The State of Indiana will carefully evaluate the details of the Executive Order and take any available legal actions necessary to restore the rule of law and proper balance to our constitutional system of government."

Source: The Office of Governor Mike Pence

November 20, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - November 20, 2014

AG questions President’s executive order and urges Congress to act on immigration policy

INDIANAPOLIS – Today Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller commented on President Obama’s scheduled announcement of an executive order that will sidestep Congress and not enforce deportation laws for certain undocumented immigrants. As the lawyer for state government, Zoeller noted the United States Supreme Court ruled in June 2012 in the Arizona v. U.S. case that state governments do not have legal authority to enact and enforce immigration policy on their own; only the federal government possesses that authority.

"It is beyond frustrating both that Congress has thus far failed to exercise its authority to reform immigration policy and that the President has apparently exceeded his authority by declining to enforce certain laws, in an area where states are prohibited from acting. Inaction by the federal legislative branch does not justify the federal executive branch overstepping its bounds. Two wrongs don't make a right," Zoeller said.

Zoeller was one of 36 state attorneys general who in April 2013 signed a letter to leaders of Congress seeking prompt bipartisan action on immigration reform, due to the impact that illegal immigration and inconsistent federal enforcement has on state governments, law enforcement, social services and employers. Zoeller and other state AGs are following up with another letter soon calling on Congress to perform its legislative function and craft legislation to address the issues of illegal immigration and ineffective enforcement.

Zoeller said there will be questions about the legality of the President's executive order which appears to violate the "Take Care Clause" of the Constitution that prohibits suspension of laws, because the order declares, on a blanket basis, that a whole category of undocumented individuals qualifies for exemption from deportation -- rather than exercising executive discretion, issuing clemencies or granting pardons on a case-by-case basis.

"Our federal government as a whole has failed our states and all citizens in fulfilling this essential function that our Constitution places solely within their authority. Immigration is not merely an economic issue; undocumented immigrants who seek a better life are frequently exploited by human traffickers, unscrupulous employers and scam artists. Law-abiding employers need access to sufficient workers and certainty to plan for the future. Hoosiers have a deep respect for the law, a welcoming attitude and compassion for newcomers in our land of opportunity; but they are also fed up with seeing our nation's laws routinely flouted and only short-term fixes offered," Zoeller said.

As lawyers for state government, Attorney General Zoeller and his office repeatedly have had to contend with ramifications at the state level of federal government inaction on immigration policy and enforcement:

-In 2011, in an attempt by state lawmakers to cope with illegal immigration in Indiana in the face of federal inaction, the Legislature passed Senate Enrolled Act 590, a state-level immigration law whose constitutionality soon was challenged in two lawsuits filed by private plaintiffs. In both lawsuits, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office aggressively defended the statute in federal court. In June 2012, in the Arizona v. U.S. case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a similar state-level warrantless arrest law was unconstitutional. That meant the warrantless arrest provisions of Indiana’s immigration law, SEA 590, also were preempted, and they were permanently struck down by the federal court in the lawsuit, Buquer v. Indianapolis. http://bit.ly/1qY9042

-Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Office continued to defend other provisions of SEA 590 in a separate lawsuit, Union Benefica Mexicana v. State -- and in that case, the State won. Portions of SEA 590 that allow the State to recoup unemployment benefits from employers who knowingly hire illegal workers, and allow police to submit federal immigration complaints, were upheld as constitutional by the federal court; and those provisions of the law remain in effect today. Another part of SEA 590, requiring companies that are state contractors to check workers’ legal status through the federal E-Verify database, was not challenged and remains in effect. http://bit.ly/1qu3MlM

-With employer penalties one of the few areas left open to state regulation, Zoeller in April 2013 was among a group of state attorneys general who joined eight U.S. Senators in Washington D.C. and urged Congress to take action on long-overdue federal immigration reform to help state governments, law enforcement and businesses cope with the legal, social and economic issues of undocumented workers. http://bit.ly/1uco7qH

Source: The Office of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller

November 20, 2014

News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Andr? Carson (IN-07) released the following on President Barack Obama's Executive Action on immigration:

"Tonight President Obama set forth a bold plan to secure our nation's borders, help keep families together, and expand our economy. The President's action was a necessary step in a Republican Congress that has refused to take up immigration reform. However, our country must come together to pass an immigration plan that will be successful. It is my hope that the President's executive actions will push Congress to bring legislation to the floor under regular order."

Source: The Office of Congressman Andr? Carson

November 20, 2014

News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN5) released the following statement in reaction to this evening's immigration executive action announcement from President Obama:

"I remain committed to effective and lasting immigration reform that fixes a clearly broken system. But we must do this through a collaborative process that allows everyone to make their voices heard rather than the 'go it alone' approach outlined by President Obama this evening. This is not how a representative government should work.

Tonight, the President directly contradicted his own previous statements to the American people on the role of Congress and the executive branch in altering our nation's immigration laws. We must now explore both legislative and legal options to ensure the White House does not exceed its constitutional authority."

To learn more about Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks, please visit: www.SusanWBrooks.house