Iowa Governor Signs Bill Permitting Arrest of Illegal Migrants by State, Local Officials

Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new bill this week that allows local and state law enforcement officers to arrest any illegal immigrant who re-entered the United States.

The bill also gives state courts the authority to deport these illegal immigrants.

The law, known as SF 2340, will go into full effect on July 1.

According to a press release, the bill gives Iowa the ability to enforce immigration laws by preventing illegal immigrants from re-entering the state. If officials in Iowa catch these people doing so, they could face as many as two years behind bars.

In a statement about the new law, Reynolds said:

“The Biden Administration has failed to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, putting the protection and safety of Iowans at risk. 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.”

This is the latest example of a Republican-led state taking border security matters into its own hands after a lack of action from the Biden administration. However, it seems to be the first from a state that doesn’t share a border or have major immigration issues, such as Florida.

The other states that have passed similar laws have faced ongoing litigation, as the federal government has sought to prevent them from enacting the laws.

Texas, which was the first state to pass a law like this, is embroiled in an ongoing fight with the Biden administration over a number of border security issues. The state’s law that enables local and state law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants for trespassing has been blocked in court thus far.

Texas claims that it has a constitutional right to protect itself, which the Biden administration has argued that only the federal government possesses the power to enact border security measures.

The Lone Star State has also done things such as install razor wire fencing along parts of its border with Mexico, and put floating barriers in parts of the Rio Grande to dissuade illegal immigrants from crossing over.

Those efforts, too, have been fought in court, with the Biden administration winning relief recently that allowed federal agents to start taking down some of the fencing.

Even still, many other Republican-led states and GOPers in Washington have shown Texas support in their efforts. Some states have sent members of their National Guard to Texas to help them secure their border.

In Iowa, questions remain not just about whether the law will be challenged in court or not, but also how the state should go about enforcing it.

Dana Wingert, the police chief in Des Moines, told The Associated Press last month that her department doesn’t currently check on people’s immigration status as part of efforts to protect the local community.

She said they’re “not equipped, funded or staffed” to take on the new responsibilities that the law would have them do. She said:

“Simply stated, not only do we not have the resources to assume this additional task, we don’t even have the ability to perform this function.”