PORTAGE | A downstate lawmaker and a local legislative candidate rallied together Saturday night in support of Arizona's contentious immigration law, vowing to push similar legislation when the Indiana General Assembly convenes next year.
Shawn Olson, the Republican challenging state Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, shared the stage with state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, at the Northwest Indiana Patriots' Stand with Arizona rally.
Olson, of Valparaiso, said he would stand with Delph when Delph introduces his immigration bill for a fourth time in January. For the past three years, a bill focusing on local regulation of immigration, authored by Delph, failed at various stages in the Legislature.
Tallian, whose district covers most of northern Porter County and portions of Ross and St. John townships in Lake County, could not be reached for comment.
About 70 people attended the rally Saturday night at Woodland Park in Portage, shouting their agreements to the speakers' comments. Most who addressed the crowd said they support immigrants coming into the country, as long as they do so legally.
"I'm glad to stand along with Sen. Delph to introduce this next session," Olson said after comparing the difference between immigrants and illegal aliens to houseguests and someone breaking into your house.
Delph said his bill combines components of legislation in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia and Oklahoma and gives local law enforcement the ability to regulate some aspects of immigration.
"(Some) think this is strictly a federal issue, and suggest the federal level take the lead and solve the problem," Delph said. "I agree. But they haven't."
The rally comes the same weekend as vocal Phoenix-area Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for his efforts against illegal immigration, toured the state for GOP fundraisers, making stops in Plainfield, Sullivan and Corydon.