Drunk-driving crash involving undocumented immigrant stirs political battle over immigration reform

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Shortly after the arrest of the man accused of hitting and killing Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe, Indiana State Police released more information on the suspect including the fact that he has been deported twice.

Some lawmakers took to social media afterwards to make the case for stricter immigration laws.

Congressman Todd Rokita (R-Indiana) tweeted, "This news should make all Americans angry. A twice-deported illegal immigrant is suspected of killing 2 Hoosiers, including Colts LB Edwin Jackson. We must do more to get these dangerous illegal immigrant criminals off our streets, build a wall & put an end to illegal immigration."

CBS4 spoke with an immigration attorney about the role political input could play in the overall immigration reform battle. She stressed it's important to focus on the core of this story: a drunk driver accused of taking lives.

"I was sad to see that the immigration status of the suspect became part of the news story. It's really not an immigration story. It's not an immigration story. It's a criminal story. It's a police investigation story. It’s a drunk driving story," said attorney Clare Corado of the Immigration Law Group.

With immigration reform being a hot topic on Capitol Hill, Corado says this story could shape the debate.

"And the danger of a story like this being taken in the immigration direction is potentially basing the future impact on millions of undocumented people on the actions of just a couple of people," Corado said.

CBS4 spoke with Congressman Rokita to get his input on the issue.

"You know, the loss of life at the hands of illegal immigrant criminals, who this person was, should make all Hoosiers sad and ultimately angry," Rokita said.

Corado and other immigration lawyers plan to lobby on Capitol Hill in April in hopes of talking to their representatives about immigration reform and to try to understand one another's position.

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