Federal judge pauses law giving law enforcement ability to arrest migrants in Iowa illegally

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(DES MOINES, Iowa.) — A federal judge in Iowa paused a state law giving local law enforcement the ability to arrest migrants in the state illegally, saying it is not the state’s job, but rather the job of the federal government to enforce immigration laws.

Signed into law in April, SF2340 authorizes local law enforcement officials to arrest migrants who have previously been deported or removed from the country, or who have been denied entry in the past. It also gives judges the power to order a person to be sent back to the country from which the person entered the United States.

It is similar to a Texas law, which gives that state’s law enforcement similar powers.

That law is on hold while it works its way through the courts.

The lawsuit, filed by the ACLU of Iowa, asked the court to grant an emergency injunction and halt the law from continuing to go into effect, which the court did.

“As a matter of politics, the new legislation might be defensible,” Judge Stephen Locher wrote. “As a matter of constitutional law, it is not.”

Brenna Bird, the Republican attorney general of Iowa, said she is disappointed by the ruling.

“I am disappointed in today’s court decision that blocks Iowa from stopping illegal reentry and keeping our communities safe,” she said. “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.”

As a matter of law, courts have held that immigration enforcement is the job of the federal government, not the state government.

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