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Last week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law new immigration legislation (S.F. 2340) that models portions of Texas’ immigration law, S.B. 4.

Under this provision, local law enforcement officers may arrest and prosecute an alien for the crime of illegal re-entry if the alien enters or is found in the state and s/he:

  1. Has been denied admission to or has been excluded, deported, or removed from the U.S.; or
  2. Has departed from the U.S. while an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal is outstanding.

A violation of this law is classified as an aggravated misdemeanor.  However, the offense becomes a Class D felony if:

  1. The person’s removal was subsequent to a conviction for commission of two or more misdemeanors involving drugs, crimes against a person, or both.
  2. The person was excluded under federal law on national security grounds.
  3. The person was removed pursuant to Immigration and Nationality Act; or
  4. The person was removed pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §1231(a)(4)(B), which allows removal of convicted nonviolent offenders before completion of their prison sentence.

The offense becomes a Class C felony if the alien was removed subsequent to a conviction for the commission of a felony.

In addition, S.F. 2340 anticipates authorizing arrests for aliens prosecuted and ordered to leave by Texas, or potentially other states.  It does so by providing that a “removal” includes an order issued under this law or any other agreement in which an alien stipulates to removal pursuant to a criminal proceeding under either federal or state law.

As with Texas’ S.B. 4, Iowa’s new law does not provide for state officials themselves to deport illegal aliens.  However, if the alien is arrested for the crime of illegal re-entry, the law permits the judge to release the alien (or even dismiss the charges) and enter an order requiring the alien to return to the country from which s/he entered the U.S., providing the alien:

  • Agrees to the order;
  • Has not previously been convicted under this law; and
  • Is not charged with another aggravated misdemeanor or more serious offense.

Before the judge can issue such an order, the court must collect certain biometric information and cross-check that information with various background check systems.

If an alien is convicted and sentenced for the crime of illegal re-entry, once the sentence is complete, the judge must order the alien to return to the country from which s/he entered.  The order must specify the official(s) responsible for monitoring compliance and how the alien will be transported to an official port of entry, allowing the alien to swiftly depart.

Governor Reynolds hailed the passage of the law. “The Biden Administration has failed to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, putting the protection and safety of Iowans at risk,” Reynolds said in an official statement. “Those who come into our country illegally have broken the law, yet Biden refuses to deport them. This bill gives Iowa law enforcement the power to do what he is unwilling to do: enforce immigration laws already on the books.”

As expected, open-borders advocates voiced strong opposition to S.F. 2340.  The ACLU of Iowa called S.F. 2340 “one of the most extreme, discriminatory, and unconstitutional anti-immigrant bills in the country” that “encourages and facilitates racial profiling and stereotyping.” The Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice said in an online post, “Remember: 1) The law is not in effect yet. 2) We all have rights under the constitution. 3) Immigrants are essential. We ALL belong. We will DEFEND each other.”

Not to be outdone, the Government of Mexico said it will not stand idly and plans to explore legal advice and resources to help defend the rights of Mexicans in Iowa.

Texas’ law, S.B.4 is currently on hold while its constitutionality is being challenged in the federal court system.  Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held oral arguments on various claims brought by the Biden Administration in its attempt to derail the law, including the argument that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution preempts states from enforcing federal immigration laws.  Iowa’s law goes into effect in July of this year, and if the lawsuit regarding the Texas law has not been decided, it will likely be challenged too.

Author: FAIR



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