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Iowa Governors Sign Deportation Bill

'Those who come into our country illegally have broken the law, yet Biden refuses to deport them,' said Governor Kim Reynolds

Iowa Governors Sign Deportation Bill

Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa signed a new law authorizing state agents to assist in the deportation of illegal aliens.

The bill, Senate File 2340, is similar to a law enacted by Governor Greg Abbott amid increasing tensions at the United States - Mexico border.

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

The new law creates state-level criminal penalties for any individual in Iowa despite being previously removed from the U.S. or denied admission to the country. Illegal aliens previously removed or ordered to leave found in Iowa could be charged with an aggravated misdemeanor. Migrants who are in the country without any documentation could be charged with a felony.

Law enforcement will not be permitted to remove an illegal alien from a public or private secondary or elementary school while he or she is attending class, from a church or a place of religious worship, from a health care facility if the person is there to receive medical treatment, or from a facility where they are undergoing a forensic medical examination. 

Additionally, the bill would permit state courts to order the deportation of illegal or undocumented aliens who are in Iowa. It would also allow state law enforcement to transport anyone ordered to leave to a port of entry to ensure compliance. 

The law goes into effect on July 1.

The state Legislature passed the law in March after the House voted 64-30 in favor of the policy.

State Representative Sami Scheetz argued immigration should be approached with compassion during a debate. He also said state penalties for illegal immigration could infringe on federal authority. 

“Immigration, with all of its nuances and implication, is a national issue that demands a cohesive federal response,” Scheetz said, per the Iowa Capital Dispatch. “Attempting to address it at the state level not only oversteps our bounds, but also risks fragmenting our approach to a challenge that affects every corner of our nation.”

State Representative Steve Holt, a Republican, disagreed. He said the Constitution allows states to “repel invasions” and that the federal government has “abdicated its responsibilities.”

Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert told AP News via email in March that his department does not factor immigration status into its work. He also said the department is “not equipped, funded or staffed” to manage the federal government’s responsibilities.

“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,” Wingert told the outlet.

Texas made illegal immigration a state crime in December of 2023. While signing the bill, Governor Greg Abbott said President Joe Biden had left Texas to “fend for itself.”

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