Congressman André Carson released the following statement today on the Indiana Compact, which seeks to guide the debate on immigration reform in Indiana and advocates for the issue to be handled at the federal, not state, level. The Compact has been proposed by the Alliance for Immigration Reform in Indiana, a group comprised of business, religious, nonprofit and education leaders. Currently the Indiana General Assembly is holding hearings on a bill that is similar to the controversial immigration law in Arizona.
"There is no doubt that immigration reform is an issue that we must address. But, the legislation we have seen in Arizona and what is being attempted here in Indiana is not the answer to this important issue and it will not solve the problem.
"If this ill-advised bill were approved the negative impacts on Hoosiers would be significant. Indiana businesses would be negatively affected at a time when we cannot afford it. Instead of sending a welcoming message that Indiana is the place to conduct business, we will close the door to investments that will create much needed jobs. By shutting out others who use a different language, we are dissuading our young people from understanding other cultures in a time of global competition. Finally, we will see families be weakened as our colleagues, friends and neighbors see the state they love to call home begin to question their right to be here.
"This bill is not what Hoosiers are about and it is not what America is about.
"Because Congress has been unable to pass true reform, state legislators feel they must take action. I agree the process in Washington can be frustrating and disheartening. The need for comprehensive reform still remains. Congress has taken steps by doubling the size of our Border Patrol and Security Task Forces, dispatching 1,200 National Guard troops and allocating more than $700 million in grants and resources to the southwest border. These actions have resulted in stemming illegal immigration into the United States.
"While these results are encouraging, Americans deserve legislation that fully addresses issues of border security, while also reforming immigration policies. These reforms must be done in a way that ensures our country will continue to attract the best and brightest from all over the world. This comprehensive plan should include provisions like the DREAM Act, mandatory employment verification of all job seekers and a requirement for all immigrants to come out of the shadows, pay taxes and go through a criminal background check.
"We must work to enhance an ongoing dialogue with our growing immigrant population. It is because of this need that I created my Congressional Latino Advisory Council for the 7th District. The council, which is comprised of a diverse array of leaders throughout my district, will provide advice and offer input on issues affecting the Latino community.
"Since its inception, the United States has been a nation of immigrants, a tradition that has given our country the strength and vibrancy we enjoy today. It is my sincere hope that in the 112th Congress we do not waste another opportunity and take bipartisan action on immigration reform. I will continue to work with leadership and my colleagues in Indiana's delegation to advance this important reform. Until then, this diverse coalition of organizations has put forth a set of principles that can guide the debate here in our state in a way that is productive and doesn't seek to create fear or division. I applaud the Alliance for Immigration Reform in Indiana for their work on the Indiana Compact."