Immigrant advocates in court to block new Iowa law against illegal reentry


The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Iowa argued in court Monday against Iowa’s new immigration law that criminalizes “illegal reentry” and gives local authorities the power to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants who return to the United States.

The Des Moines Register reports the suit was filed on behalf of Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice. It seeks an injunction against the new law before it takes effect July 1st.

The law bars anyone deported or denied entry to the US from entering Iowa. Those caught would be charged with an aggravated misdemeanor in most cases.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office argued that the state law should go into effect because it simply allows officials to enforce existing federal immigration laws; U.S. Department Of Justice attorney Christopher Eiswerth countered, saying regulating immigration is “purely a federal responsibility.”

Local police and county attorneys are saying they’ve gotten no guidance on how to enforce the law or prosecute cases.  Immigration advocates have vehemently opposed the legislation. The ACLU of Iowa says the law conflicts with existing federal law and will increase racial profiling.

Governor Kim Reynolds and Attorney General Brenna Bird intend to defend the legislation, which was signed into law in April. When the suits were filed, Reynolds issued a statement on social media criticizing the groups for not protecting Iowans, and the Biden administration for not enforcing federal law.

U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Locher said he plans to decide before July 1st whether the new legislation can be enforced.