Immigration bill has testimony in ohio house
November 26, 2012 · Print This Article
Information obtained for the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs
Ohio House Bill 580 is one step closer to becoming law as House representatives have begun internal testimony. The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Courtney Combs of Butler County and Rep. Matt Lynch of Geauga County. The bill would allow law enforcement to detain citizens on the premise they could be in the country illegally.
The bill would allow police officers to investigate the immigration status of a detainee if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the individual’s presence in the United States is unauthorized. Reports say Lynch testified an investigation would only ensue if there is first a lawful stop for a primary infraction such as running a red light and if the individual could not furnish valid identification which the bill outlines.
Though the bill does not allow police to consider “race, color or national origin” in determining reasonable suspicion, some question the reality of the situation.
Representative Ross McGregor of Clark County asked how “without considering race, color or national origin” the bill sponsors would define reasonable suspicion and according to OCHLA, Representative Combs replied saying the Ohio bill is designed to mimic Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070.
During testimony it was stressed if the individual presents valid identification, or papers from a foreign government allowing lawful presence in the United States, he or she would not have to worry.
Representative Lynch gathered statistics from the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR), saying there are about 110,000 undocumented immigrants in Ohio costing taxpayers $879 million annually. In a breakdown, Lynch said most of the money goes toward education, law enforcement, and medical care. And yes, the undocumented immigrants in Ohio do pay some taxes – about $18.8 million annually. Lynch also added undocumented immigrants cause a burden on tax payers and are taking jobs from Ohioans
Representative Combs responded that the sponsors too, were in favor of immigration – just not illegal immigration. He said he would get on the “bandwagon” to fundamentally change federal immigration law, but in the absence of federal action he believes current immigration laws must be enforced. He said that there is a sophisticated drug trafficking network from Mexico to Ohio and noted that undocumented immigrants are frequently the traffickers of these drugs. Combs also said that police officers would have the right to ask if a detainee is a citizen, and noted that in Arizona, law enforcement set up check points to accomplish the same goals
The opposition to the bill noted that the detainee has the obligation to show prove their allowed in the United States – “guilty until proven innocent”. And questioned which group is more at fault for the current immigration situation – undocumented immigrants or their unscrupulous employers.