INDIANAPOLIS – State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) expressed his concerns after the first meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Immigration Issues, specifically noting the vast contributions of the immigrant community in Monroe County. Sen. Stoops also noted the punitive nature of the committee, citing the subject matter that the Senate Republican Leadership chose to study over the course of the interim.

“As lawmakers, we should be focusing on implementing policies that do not label immigrants as the source of the ‘problems’ with our economy and elections,” said Sen. Stoops. “Rather, we should be focusing on the policies that engage the immigrant population with our communities and our government through a civil and welcoming conversation.”

Sen. Stoops was also critical of the committee’s formulation outside of the normal parameters of the interim study committee process. The Senate Select Committee on Immigration Issues is set to meet six times over the course of the interim, and must submit a report on the findings of the committee to Senate President Pro Tempore David Long (R-Fort Wayne) by November 15, 2016.

The first meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Immigration Issues on Tuesday consisted of an overview of state immigration law by the Indiana Senate legal staff, including Indiana’s immigration law that went into effect in 2011. Additionally, the committee heard testimony from Kris Kobach, Kansas’ Secretary of State, and Dale Wilcox, Executive Director and General Counsel for the Immigration Law Reform Institute, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Kobach was a main architect of the controversial laws in Arizona and Alabama that garnered national attention and damaged those states’ economies. Both organizations are on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-immigrant extremist groups. 

“I’ve seen firsthand the contributions of the immigrant community in Monroe County and Indiana,” said Sen. Stoops. “I am concerned that if we continue down this path of singling out communities of Hoosiers that wish to live, work and contribute to the state’s economy, who will want to stay?”

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Sen. Stoops represents Indiana Senate District 40 which encompasses Bloomington and Monroe County. For more information on Sen. Stoops, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit https://www.indianasenatedemocrats.org/S40.

NOTE: A photo of Sen. Mark Stoops can be downloaded at: https://www.indianasenatedemocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Stoops.jpg