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Gov. Holcomb asks Congress to give states control over immigration in op-ed

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb wrote an op-ed with the Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, the two Republicans are asking Congress to give states the ability to sponsor an unspecified number of immigrants every year, a program similar to what universities and companies use. 

Any proposal involving immigration would require congressional action. 

Holcomb says this is about jobs. In the Washington Post op-ed, the governor says Indiana has 220,000 open jobs. He wrote the rapidly declining birthrate and accelerating retirement across the United States mean that states’ already-wide job gap will grow to crisis proportions without more families — causing states’ growth engines to sputter.  

Holcomb is asking Congress to allow states to decide how many immigrants should be allowed to legally enter the county. Immigration has been a political hot button issue for decades.

Will this proposal garner wide support?

Aaron Dusso, associate professor of political science at IUPUI, said, “The status quo is no. My guess is there will be small kind of of national policies that might be able to come out of this. Will there be some large overarching agreement, a policy that could last for decades and set the United States on a path toward prosperity? I would probably guess that is not going to happen anytime soon.”

Holcomb wrote “Immigration sponsorship would give states a dynamic means to attract new residents, both from a pool of new applicants from abroad and from the ranks of current asylum seekers. The policy would also expand the states’ responsibility for the contributions and success of these folks in American life.”  

Can he sell this to rural Indiana and to the supporters of former president Donald Trump?

Dusso said, “Immigration is such a toxic issue right now. It is having been a political issue for the entire existence of the United States, but it is an easy issue for politicians to demagogue on because it is easy to point to the nefarious ‘them’ out there that are going to come and get us.”

Holcomb will remain in the governor’s office for another two years. He has not made his future plans public.

Is this op-ed a secret message to his base on his future political plans might have in store?

Dusso says that GOP candidates supporting anything less than tightly controlled borders will have a tough time in primary races. 

“I wouldn’t expect anyone who would have hopes of winning primary elections of the Republican Party to say anything close to this,” Dusso said.

The Indiana Democratic Party sent a statement to I-Team 8.

While Governor Holcomb’s idea of sponsoring immigrants in Indiana sounds good, it’s ultimately Congress’s responsibility to establish a comprehensive immigration policy that ensures border security, upholds our values as a nation of immigrants, and addresses the urgent economic needs of states. 

Unfortunately, the Republican Party has consistently obstructed Democrats’ efforts to act on meaningful immigration reform at the federal level, despite the urgent need for reform. Governor Holcomb’s energies might be better spent lobbying his fellow Indiana Republicans in Congress to prioritize the well-being of their constituents over political games and work towards a bipartisan solution that supports our economy, strengthens our communities, and upholds our American values.”  

Mike Schmuhl, chair of the Indiana Democratic Party