Civil rights groups sue Iowa officials to block immigration law from taking effect – JURIST

Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday against Iowa state officials to block the state’s newly enacted immigration law from taking effect on July 1. The law makes it a crime for a foreign national to enter Iowa after being deported to the United States from the United States. past, regardless of your current immigration status.

The groups involved are the national and state chapters of the ACLU and the American Immigration Council. They represent the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, advising and advocating for immigrants and refugees.

In the complaint filed in the Southern District Court of Iowa, the groups claim that Iowa has exceeded its authority by encroaching on areas of law reserved for the federal government. They first argue that the federal government has exclusive authority to regulate immigration and that Iowa law conflicts with federal immigration laws. For example, a person does not commit a federal crime if they have already been deported and are now returning to the United States on a visa. But at the same time, they are committing a state crime under Iowa law, according to the complaint. Second, the groups argue that the Iowa law infringes on the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate foreign commerce, which includes “the entry of persons into and movement across state lines.”

The complaint also highlights the impact of the law. Prohibited reentry is an “aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in state prison.” If the person has already been deported for committing a crime, re-entry becomes a crime punishable by up to ten years. The law allows state judges to order people to leave the United States.

The ACLU announced the lawsuit on its website, saying the law is “one of the worst and most far-reaching immigration laws ever passed in the state of Iowa.” The civil rights group also warns that the law applies to minors and will “fuel racial profiling” and “result in the separation of families.”

Kim Reynolds, the Republican governor of Iowa, responded with a brief statement: “As governor, I have a responsibility to protect the citizens of Iowa. As President Biden refuses to enforce our nation’s immigration laws – threatening the safety of our citizens – Iowa will intervene.

Just over a month ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction against a similar law in Texas. This law criminalizes crossing the US border into Texas at an unauthorized point. However, a preliminary injunction only prevents the law from taking effect while the case is pending, so the court has not yet issued a final ruling.

Meanwhile, other states could join Texas and Iowa in their anti-immigration campaign. For example, the Oklahoma House of Representatives recently passed a law criminalizing both unlawful presence in Oklahoma and reentry after deportation.