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HomeTOP STORIESJudge Blocks Iowa’s Attempt to Enforce Its Own Immigration Law

Judge Blocks Iowa’s Attempt to Enforce Its Own Immigration Law

The Justice Department sued the state over the Republican-backed law, which creates state-level criminal penalties for some unauthorized immigrants.

A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked Iowa from enforcing its own immigration law, which makes it a state crime to enter Iowa after being deported or denied entry into the United States.

The ruling comes amid a national push by statehouse conservatives to assert authority over illegal immigration, which the Justice Department argues is solely the federal government’s responsibility.

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

Iowa is among a few Republican-led states that have enacted a form of state-level immigration enforcement this year, infuriating Biden administration officials who have described the laws as unconstitutional overreach. Iowa officials vowed to appeal the judge’s order granting the preliminary injunction.

“I am disappointed in today’s court decision that blocks Iowa from stopping illegal reentry and keeping our communities safe,” the state attorney general, Brenna Bird, a Republican, said in a statement. “Since Biden refuses to secure our borders, he has left states with no choice but to do the job for him.”

Immigration has become a top issue in this year’s presidential campaign, and federal authorities have seen a surge in migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Many states with Republican governors, including Iowa, have also sent National Guard troops to Texas to assist with border security.

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