The voters of Indiana want solutions. Responsible elected officials and policy-makers in Indiana must navigate the hot-button issue of immigration away from costly, divisive and controversial proposals and toward solutions that focus on the state’s pressing needs.
The Arizona-style bill (Senate Bill 590) was introduced by Senator Mike Delph. It has passed the Senate and now goes to the House for consideration. Governor Mitch Daniels, who may run for the Presidency in 2012, has not indicated whether or not he supports the bill.
The state of Indiana has been praised for getting its budget shortfall under control. However, budget scholars warn that things are still tough. Indiana was hit harder than most states by the recession. Unemployment is likely to remain at 10% in 2011, higher than the national rate. Also, the state’s unemployment insurance fund is bankrupt.
The business community and farmers are among the voices opposing the bill. The hotel and restaurant industry in Indiana warns it could suffer a similar loss of business and workers just as the Arizona convention industry has due to the boycott. The Urbana, a company that previously held a conference in Indiana, said SB 590 would play into consideration for future events. Farmers, calling for a dependable migrant labor force, have testified against the Arizona-inspired bill. Also, two of Indiana’s largest employers (Eli Lilly and Cummins, Inc.) have expressed opposition to the bill stating that it hinders businesses from competing in the global market.
Senate Bill 590 is expected to cost state police about $5 million a year to implement. However, those are believed to be conservative estimates. Based on estimates by an Arizona sheriff, implementation costs for a similar law could cost Arizona hundreds of millions of dollars. Also, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that the Arizona copycat would cost Kentucky $40 million a year.
If Indiana wants to continue improving its economic growth, it cannot afford a law like Arizona’s SB 1070 that has enormous social and fiscal costs in the form of fractured communities, legal fees and implementation costs.
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