Iowa Gov. Signs Law Allowing Police to Arrest Migrants Previously Denied Entry or Deported

Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a new law that allows state authorities to arrest migrants who have been denied entry or deported from the US. The law, known as SF 2340, aims to address what the governor calls the failure of the Biden administration to enforce immigration laws. Reynolds accuses the administration of refusing to deport those who enter the country illegally, while the new law gives Iowa law enforcement the power to enforce existing immigration laws.

Under the new law, migrants who have outstanding deportation orders, have been previously deported, or have been barred from entering the US can be arrested and charged with an aggravated misdemeanor offense. This offense carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. If migrants have prior removal orders related to misdemeanor convictions for drug crimes, crimes against people, or any type of felony conviction, the offense becomes a felony.

The law, set to go into effect on July 1, stipulates that suspected migrants cannot be arrested in places of worship, schools, or medical facilities. Additionally, arrested individuals may be allowed to leave the country and avoid charges if a judge grants permission.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa has strongly criticized the legislation, describing it as “extreme, discriminatory, and unconstitutional.” The ACLU argues that the law encourages racial profiling, undermines public safety, and puts a strain on state resources.

This Iowa law bears similarities to Texas’ SB4 legislation, which makes crossing the border illegally a state crime. The Texas law grants state authorities the power to arrest, jail, prosecute, and deport migrants who enter the country between ports of entry. However, the Texas law has been blocked by an appeals court due to ongoing litigation, with the Justice Department arguing that it violates the US Constitution.

Governor Reynolds’ signing of the law is part of a wider debate surrounding immigration enforcement and border security in the United States. The issue has taken center stage since President Joe Biden took office, as his administration seeks to balance immigration reform with border control measures. The ultimate impact and legality of Iowa’s new law remain to be seen as legal challenges are expected in the future.