Red State Slapped With Lawsuit Over Law Allowing Officials To Arrest, Deport Illegal Immigrants

A number of civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against the state of Iowa on Thursday for passing a law allowing authorities to arrest and detain some illegal immigrants.

SF 2340, signed by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, grants local and state law enforcement the ability to arrest and press charges against illegal immigrants who have outstanding deportation orders, or who have reentered the U.S. after being previously deported or denied access to the interior of the country. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa and the American Immigration Council are suing Iowa over the law on claims that it is unconstitutional and will disproportionately affect the state’s immigrant population.

“Supporters of this law say they passed it because they are tired of the way the federal government and the current administration is handling immigration enforcement. We can all agree that our immigration system needs improvement, but this law is no solution,” Erica Johnson, founding executive director of Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, claimed in a statement on Thursday. “Instead, it increases fear among Iowa’s immigrant communities and overwhelms local groups who are doing the real work of finding solutions and creating thriving communities.”


The lawsuit alleges that the state law hamstrings the Biden administration’s ability to enforce federal immigration laws, according to NBC News. ACLU of Iowa also claims it will increase racial profiling and result in the separation of families.

The Biden administration’s Department of Justice was previously threatening to sue Iowa unless it dropped the law from the books. Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird previously said the state wouldn’t give in to pressure on repealing the law.

“Iowa won’t back down. We will defend our law, even if the federal government is going to sue us,” Bird during a Fox News interview on May 5. “Iowa has an immigration problem. Iowa isn’t a border state, we’re a long way from the border, but now every state is a border state with the border so out of control.”

SF 2340 is set to go into effect on July 1.

The Biden administration has sought to keep states including Iowa and Texas from enforcing stricter laws to curtail the illegal immigration crisis. The administration has been in an ongoing legal battle with Texas, which has deployed the state National Guard to its southern border and has prevented Border Patrol from intervening in border enforcement activities.

Illegal immigration has surged under the Biden administration; Border Patrol recorded roughly 1.6 million migrant encounters at the southern border in fiscal year 2021, compared to over 2 million in fiscal year 2023 and over a million in the first six months of fiscal year 2024, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

Reynolds’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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