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Indiana State Immigration Laws

Indiana is one of a handful of states that have passed comprehensive and strict immigration laws. But it is important to know about the relationship and tension between state and federal law. This issue is particularly important with immigration.

The federal government handles most of the U.S. immigration system. But local officials also have a say in it.

Below you will find information on what rules Indiana has on immigration checks by law enforcement. You'll also find information about the kinds of immigration status checks schools may run. We also cover what checks employers do.

In this article, you'll also read about E-Verify requirements. And you'll encounter information about restrictions on public benefits that migrants face.

Be sure to check with local authorities or a qualified attorney for more comprehensive information and the latest developments in these laws.

Law Enforcement and Immigration in Indiana

Indiana has a much stricter approach to immigration than more liberal states like New York, Connecticut, or Illinois. A 2011 law passed in Indiana authorized state and local police officers to arrest people subject to removal (deportation) orders or similar proceedings. But, a federal judge blocked that provision.

Under a federal program, the names of convicts go through a database that checks immigration status. This program is the “Criminal Apprehension Program." A person must be convicted of a crime to go through this system. Information in this system is shared with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It may also be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Undocumented immigrants should remain aware of how information is collected and shared under such circumstances.

Employment Restrictions

Under federal laws, employers should refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules and the requirements for Form I-9.

Indiana E-Verify Requirements

Recent Indiana legislation requires that state and local government agencies, as well as government contractors, use E-Verify. E-Verfiy lets participating employers verify a newly hired worker's employment eligibility in seconds. The law does not require private employers to use E-Verify, though they can.

The law does offer some protections and incentives to employers that choose to use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of new hires. Employers can face penalties for employing unauthorized immigrant workers who did not use E-Verify.

Driver's License/ID Requirements

Applicants for driver's licenses in Indiana must bring documents to their local branch of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to prove their:

  • Name and date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Lawful status in the United States
  • Indiana residency

Public Benefits Restrictions

Under federal law, illegal immigrants cannot receive public benefits. But they can access emergency services, health care, and other programs identified as "necessary to protect life and safety." Also, Indiana's law says state agencies and divisions must verify people's eligibility for public benefits. But healthcare providers are not required to verify eligibility for emergency care services.

Educational Restrictions

Indiana law blocks undocumented immigrants from receiving the in-state tuition rate and financial aid benefits.

This applies to DACA recipients, as well.

About DACA:

  • It stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • It was enacted to prevent eligible young adults from being deported after they came to the United States as children.
  • It also gives these young adults work authorization for limited periods of time. Those periods of work authorization are renewable.

You can learn more about DACA at FindLaw's What is DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? You can also learn more about DACA by reviewing USCIS's FAQ page on the program.

U visa holders are also excluded from in-state tuition benefits.

About U visas:

  • U visas provide work authorization for abuse victims in the same way that a green card does.
  • They are also available to family members of victims.
  • Victims of many crimes, not just abuse, are also eligible for this type of visa.

Visit FindLaw's page on the subject to learn more about U visas. It can also help asylum seekers who have faced persecution in their country of origin.

Voter ID Rules

Indiana law requires voters to provide photo identification at the polling booth before casting a ballot. Acceptable identification includes:

  • Driver's licenses
  • Passports
  • State IDs
  • Some student IDs

People who cannot show an acceptable photo ID will be able to vote using a provisional ballot but will have to provide an acceptable ID to officials within six (6) days of the election or sign an affidavit for their vote to count.

Housing Ordinances and Immigration

There are none.

Related Resources

  • National Immigration Law Center — This nonprofit organization provides many legal services, including legal representation, to migrants, regardless of their ability to pay. It also runs initiatives for a variety of immigrant rights-related issues.
  • Indiana Legal Aid — This group also provides free or low-cost legal services to immigrants.

Questions About Indiana State Immigration Laws? Talk to an Attorney

Many immigration laws are of federal jurisdiction. But all the statutes, including Indiana's, have a significant say in how immigration is handled in their own jurisdictions. This can create confusion. It's a good idea to contact a qualified immigration attorney. They'll help you learn more about immigration laws and how they apply to your specific circumstances.

The U.S. immigration system is overwhelming. And it's important you know your rights. If you're facing any immigration-related problem, it's a good idea to seek the help of immigration attorneys. The advocacy services they provide on immigration matters are invaluable.

Perhaps, you're facing a possible deportation or amid removal proceedings. Maybe, you're just struggling with regular communications with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You might even be appearing before an immigration court. Or you might have to appear before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). You might even be undergoing the naturalization process and trying to become a U.S. citizen.

Whatever your unique set of circumstances, immigrant rights are always important. Migrants who can't afford attorneys could seek help from Indiana Legal Aid. This group provides free or low-cost legal representation to low-income people. If you need attorney referrals, you could contact the Indiana State Bar Association. It can provide referrals for free.

Noncitizens should seek the help of immigration attorneys if they are facing any legal issues. Whether you're in Indianapolis or another part of the state, getting the legal help you need is important. Talk to an attorney today.

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