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Activists File Lawsuit Against Strict Iowa Immigration Law

A picture of protesters
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Activists File Lawsuit Against Strict Iowa Immigration Law

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The new immigration law in Iowa that makes “illegal reentry” a crime was officially filed for litigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The lawsuit claims the law is unconstitutional and should be stopped from taking effect. 


This is the second lawsuit that aims to overturn legislation that state legislators passed earlier this year, as the law affords the state the right to detain and deport certain migrants.

The Strict Law

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This Iowa bill will have several significant ramifications for the people of Iowa and violates current federal law. Even if someone in Iowa has been deported and has since obtained permission to enter the country again, it still constitutes fresh offenses for them. This includes children. 


The Justice Department’s action and an additional lawsuit brought by civil rights and immigrant rights organizations contended that the state statute should be deemed unlawful due to its preemption by federal law.

Lawsuit Filed Against the Law

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The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU of Iowa filed a lawsuit against the state for the same law on behalf of the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice on the same day as the federal censure. 


This Iowa bill will have several significant ramifications for Iowans and violates current federal law.


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Enforcing the Law

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Law proponents contend that problems should be left to be handled independently and that the federal government is not doing a good enough job of preventing illegal immigration from entering the nation’s borders and interior. 


Legal experts frequently hold that the federal government alone is responsible for enforcing immigration laws, regardless of state disagreements with policies that may impact them. 

DOJ Threatens

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Breaking the federal law means that the bill jeopardizes current immigration efforts. 


In addition, the lawsuit was filed just hours after civil rights organizations filed their lawsuit in an attempt to overturn the law, and a week after a senior DOJ official threatened to take state officials to court if they continued to enforce the statute.

Prevention of the Law

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Civil rights organizations and Biden’s Department of Justice are attempting to prevent the Iowa law from going into effect. Iowa cannot ignore settled Supreme Court precedent or the United States Constitution. 


Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton of the DOJ noted that the purpose of this action is to make sure Iowa complies with the Constitution and the framework that Congress created for immigration policy.


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Immigration Fear

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The Iowa law has made immigrant populations in the state more fearful that law enforcement will result in racial and ethnic profiling, make dealing with the police more difficult or discourage residents from reporting crimes. 


Protests have been planned in reaction to the events that activists and advocacy groups, including one that was mentioned in the lawsuit, have thrown to address people’s concerns.

Law Opposition

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The new laws are opposed by the ACLU of Iowa and other civil rights organizations. One of the primary arguments made in this different complaint is that the way the legislation is drafted may permit the imprisonment or arrest of anyone. 


Also, it may affect those who have been given asylum or who have valid green cards. It’s also said that minors are not exempt from the law.

Awful Immigration Rule

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Families and communities in Iowa are severely harmed by this awful law. Politicians in Iowa purposefully targeted those who are protected by federal immigration rules and who are lawfully in the country. 


People like those who were granted asylum or special visas issued to victims of domestic abuse or other crimes, according to ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis Austen’s report.


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Federal Government Should Handle Immigration

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There are many valid reasons why immigration should be handled by the federal government rather than the states, including those about international relations, the interest of the people, the security of the nation, and also the constitutional system. 


The federal government should enforce immigration laws, and not the 50 individual states enforcing their laws. It is difficult to exaggerate how terrible and peculiar this law is. The ACLU made this claim.

The Legislation Effective Date

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July 1st, 2024, the changes in the legislation will take effect, and law in Iowa will permit criminal prosecutions against those who are subject to pending deportation orders or who have previously been expelled or refused entry into the United States. 


Once in detention, immigrants may consent to a judge’s order to depart the country or face legal action and maybe go to jail or prison before being deported.

Rise in Immigration

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The enormous influx of individuals requesting asylum from conditions in their home countries by crossing the U.S. southern border has given rise to legal disputes regarding these laws and lawsuits. 


U.S. Border Patrol statistics show that in December, the number of border interactions reached a record high of about 250,000. As the weather warms up, immigration professionals predict that border crossings will increase in the coming months.

The Law Is Likely To Be Held Before Taking Effect

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Before the bill can completely take effect, a federal judge is likely to put it on hold while decisions are made regarding the constitutionality of state measures of this kind. 


The outcome of the case is uncertain, and political organizations will probably take it to the Supreme Court before it is finally settled.


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