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Immigrant worries that bill would hurt Indiana citizens

February 25, 2011

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The Feb. 17 front-page article "Would Arizona-style law hurt Indy?" rightly points to the potential damage Senate Bill 590 would have by scaring off conventions. After the recent Arizona anti-immigrant bill became law, which SB 590 mirrors, legal and illegal immigrants began to leave that state, hurting it economically.

According to the U.S. Census, from 1997 to 2007 some Indiana business sectors supported by immigrant labor saw revenue increase: construction (54 percent), manufacturing (56 percent) accommodation and food services (76 percent). Consider the negative impact on these businesses if immigrant workers flee our state.

SB 590 would hurt Indiana's cultural identity and self-image. I became a U.S. citizen while living in Indiana. However, SB 590 would equate inability to speak English properly as reason enough to suspect that a person could be here illegally. This would create racial profiling. SB 590's focus on Spanish makes me worry that a Mexican accent would be a target more than a British accent.

I applaud that the article draws attention to www.indianacompact .com, which offers a wise and balanced perspective on the immigration debate. I urge Indiana's U.S. citizens to contact their state legislators to oppose SB 590.

Rev. Felipe N. Martinez


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