Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Federal judge blocks Iowa law that allows authorities to criminally charge people facing deportation

By 37ci3 Jun18,2024

DES MOINES, Iowa — A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked an Iowa law that allows law enforcement in the state to file criminal charges against people with deportation orders or who have previously been barred from entering the United States.

U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Locher issued the preliminary ruling as he said civil rights groups suing the U.S. Department of Justice and the state will succeed in their argument that the federal immigration law preempts the law approved by Iowa lawmakers this spring.

“As a policy, the new legislation is defensible,” Locher said in his ruling. “According to constitutional law, it is not so.”

Iowa’s law, which is set to take effect July 1, would allow law enforcement to file charges against people who have deportation orders or who have previously been removed from the United States or have not been admitted to the United States. ordered by a judge to leave the United States or face trial, may be detained before deportation.

In approving the law, Iowa’s Republican-dominated Legislature and Gov. Kim Reynolds said they took the step because Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration has not effectively controlled immigration along the country’s southern border.

In arguments before Locher last week, the state said Iowa’s law would only allow state law enforcement agencies and courts to enforce federal laws, not create new law.

“We have a law that adopts the federal standard,” Valencia said.

However, the federal government and civil rights groups said Iowa’s law infringes on the federal government’s sole authority over immigration matters and will create a host of problems and confusion.

DOJ attorney Christopher Eiswert and Emma Winger, representing the American Immigration Council, said the new Iowa law does not make an exception for those who were once deported but are now living in the country legally, including those seeking asylum.

The law is similar to, but less broad than, the current Texas law just a few confusing hours before being stayed by a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court in March.

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird said in a statement that she will appeal the judge’s decision.

“I am disappointed by today’s court decision that prevents Iowans from stopping illegal access and keeping our communities safe,” Bird said. “By refusing to protect our borders, Biden has left states with no choice but to do it for him.”

Reynolds issued a statement expressing disappointment with the judge’s decision and criticizing Biden.

“I signed a bill to protect Iowans and our communities from the consequences of this border crisis: increased crime, overdose deaths and human trafficking,” Reynolds said.

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By 37ci3

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