Iowa GOP Governor Signs Bill Allowing State Authorities To Arrest, Deport Illegal Immigrants
COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA - JANUARY 13: Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) speaks at a campaign events for Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at The Grass Wagon on January 13, 2024 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Iowa voters are preparing for the Republican Party of Iowa's presidential caucuses on January 15th.
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Republican Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law on Wednesday that allows state authorities to arrest and deport immigrants in Iowa who have previously been deported or denied entry into the country.

The measure was passed last month by Iowa’s GOP-controlled legislature, with multiple Democrats joining Republicans in sending the bill to Reynolds’ desk. The new law, which is set to go into effect on July 1, makes “illegal reentry” a state crime, and illegal immigrants who break the law could face up to two years in prison and deportation, Iowa Public Radio reported.

“The Biden Administration has failed to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, putting the protection and safety of Iowans at risk,” Reynolds said. “Those who come into our country illegally have broken the law, yet Biden refuses to deport them. This bill gives Iowa law enforcement the power to do what he is unwilling to do: enforce immigration laws already on the books.”

Under the new state law, an immigrant could be guilty of a Class C felony and face up to 10 years in prison for illegally entering the country if he/she was arrested for committing another felony. The law also requires Iowa judges to submit an order for a person convicted of illegally entering the U.S. to be returned to their home country.

The new Iowa law is similar to a Texas immigration measure that is currently stuck in a legal battle with the Biden administration. The Texas law, which also allows state authorities to arrest and deport immigrants for illegally entering the U.S., is currently blocked by a federal appeals court.

After Texas passed the immigration law, the Biden administration, along with groups such as the ACLU sued. The Biden administration cited the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, arguing that the Texas law interferes with federal immigration law.

Similarly, critics of Iowa’s new immigration law say it interferes with the federal government and causes confusion among immigrants.

“This law ignores the fact of federal preemption, and it’s purely a political stunt in an election year that’s meant to drive fear and just perpetuate hateful campaign rhetoric,” said Erica Johnson, executive director of the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, according to Iowa Public Radio.


Mark Stringer, the executive director of the Iowa ACLU called the immigration measure “one of the most extreme, discriminatory, and unconstitutional anti-immigrant bills in the country.”

Proponents of state laws cracking down on illegal immigration argue that the federal government under President Joe Biden has failed in its duty to secure the southern border and protect American citizens, adding that states have a constitutional right and duty to protect themselves from what many view as an invasion of the U.S southern border.

Since Biden took office, Customs and Border Protection has reported around eight million migrant encounters at the U.S. southwest border and nearly two million “gotaways.” Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have also been flown and bused across the country after crossing the southern border.

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