(UPDATED) Lawsuits seek to block Iowa immigration law from taking effect

Statewide Iowa – Civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of an Iowa law that would let state officials arrest and deport immigrants who are in Iowa after previously being deported or denied entry to the country. The law is scheduled to take effect July 1st. Rita Bettis Austen is legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa.

Iowa police do not have the ability to accurately determine a person’s current immigration status, according to Bettis Austen.

Kate Melloy Goettel, legal director with the American Immigration Council, says the law is unconstitutional.

One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is a 68-year-old woman who has a green card and is living in Iowa today.

Melloy Goettel says the law has no exceptions for people who have legal authority to be in the U-S now, but had been removed in the past. Erica Johnson, executive director of the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, says the law is creating fear among immigrant communities.

Governor Kim Reynolds says President Biden refuses to enforce immigration laws and she has a responsibility to protect the citizens of Iowa. Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird says states have to take matters into their own hands and she stands ready to defend the law in court. The US Department of Justice announced late Thursday that it also has sued the state to try to block the law from taking effect. A similar Texas law is on hold due to a federal lawsuit.


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