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Legislators Ask, How Many Illegals Are There In Indiana?

Last updated on Wednesday, September 10, 2008

(UNDATED) - Legislators grappling with how to stop illegal immigration are trying to answer an even more basic question: just how many illegal aliens are there in Indiana?

The Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center says about four-percent of Hoosiers were born in other countries. About a third of them are US citizens, a third are noncitizens here legally, and the rest are illegal aliens.

Associate Director Rakesh Kochhar estimates that number at 100,000, based on census and labor department data. But he cautions there's a wide margin of error. He says the real number could be anywhere from 75,000 to 125,000.

Former Allen County councilman Herb Hernandez, a member of the Indiana Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs told a legislative study committee he thinks the number could be as low as 55,000, based on data from the Indiana University Business Research Center.

Carmel Senator Mike Delph authored a bill last session which would have suspended the business licenses of companies who hire illegals. He says he doesn't have hard numbers, but says opponents of his bill tell him both Kochhar and Hernandez's numbers are too low.

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