An Indiana Senate study committee on immigration kicks off next week with the first of six meetings that will be held throughout the summer, and Democrats say they’re concerned the committee will serve to promote an anti-immigration agenda.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long directed the study committee to examine the effect of illegal immigration on Indiana’s workforce, economy and justice system. Long’s memo also requires the committee to investigate what changes to federal law could be helpful, and what Indiana can do in the current legal framework.
The committee is composed of two Republicans, two Democrats and Republican committee chair Senator Mike Delph of Carmel, who says he wants members to come in without prejudging the issues.
But Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says the first meeting’s agenda undermines that sentiment.
“Both of the so-called expert witnesses they are going to have testify, they clearly have an agenda – and it’s the most radical, hard-right wing agenda possible,” Lanane says.
One of the two witnesses for Tuesday’s meeting is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped develop a controversial Alabama immigration law and advised Donald Trump on his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border.
The other is Dale Wilcox, who works for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, an organization whose stated mission is to defend against the harms posed by mass migration, both lawful and unlawful.