Iowa Immigration Law Blocked

Law and justice.

Photo: boonchai wedmakawand / Moment / Getty Images

A federal court is blocking Iowa's immigration law. The law allowed law enforcement in the state to file criminal charges against people with outstanding deportation orders or who previously had been denied entry to the U.S.

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird says the state will appeal.

"I am disappointed in today’s court decision that blocks Iowa from stopping illegal reentry and keeping our communities safe. Since Biden refuses to secure our borders, he has left states with no choice but to do the job for him. We will be appealing the court’s decision to uphold Iowa’s immigration enforcement law.

Iowa never would have had to pass this law to begin with if it weren’t for Biden’s open borders. Rather than suing Iowa for enforcing immigration laws, he should do his duty to secure the border."

Gov. Kim Reynolds released the following statement in response to a federal district court judge granting an injunction of Iowa’s illegal immigration law:  

 “With this injunction states are left defenseless to the ongoing crisis at our southern border. Plainly, the Biden administration is failing to do their job and enforce federal immigration laws allowing millions to enter and re-enter without any consequence or delay. I signed this bill into law to protect Iowans and our communities from the results of this border crisis: rising crime, overdose deaths, and human trafficking. I support Attorney General Bird in appealing this decision.” 


The ACLU of Iowa had filed to block the law, saying it conflicts with existing federal law and would have a number of dramatic consequences for Iowans.

“The court was right to block this cruel and blatantly unconstitutional law. If it had been allowed to go into effect, it would have meant that even people currently living in the U.S. lawfully could have been arrested, imprisoned, and forced to leave the country.

“Sadly, we are still seeing copycat laws and proposed measures that would cause irreparable harm for immigrant families, including in Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma. These types of laws create absolute chaos and human suffering and have no place in our legal system.”  -Emma Winger, American Immigration Council

"Today’s order means the law cannot be enforced for now while the case is litigated. We are relieved and grateful for the court’s decision which for the time being blocks SF2340, among the worst anti-immigrant legislation in Iowa’s history and which exposed even lawful immigrants, and even children, to serious harms—arrest, detention, deportation, family separation, and incarceration, by the state.


"The court powerfully and accurately found that the law is 'untenable.' This state law conflicts with federal law and dumps the responsibility of immigration enforcement on state and local law enforcement and judges. Local law enforcement in Iowa have spoken up to say that they don't want this duty, given the significant ways that such enforcement would erode the ability of local law enforcement to protect public safety." -Rita Bettis, ACLU of Iowa Legal Director

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa by the American Immigration Council, the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, and the national ACLU on behalf of Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice and the thousands of immigrants that the organization assists, including two individual Iowans.

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