Iowa law lets police arrest migrants. The federal government and civil rights groups are suing

Iowa law lets police arrest migrants. The federal government and civil rights groups are suing

The U.S. Justice Department sued Iowa on Thursday over its new law that would give the state the authority to arrest and deport some migrants, making it the second lawsuit filed in a single day that seeks to block legislation passed earlier this year by state lawmakers.

Both the Justice Department’s lawsuit and another suit filed by civil rights and immigrant rights groups argued the state law was preempted by federal law and should be declared invalid.

“Iowa cannot disregard the U.S. Constitution and settled Supreme Court precedent,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a statement. “We have brought this action to ensure that Iowa adheres to the framework adopted by Congress and the Constitution for regulation of immigration.”

The federal action was expected, as the Department of Justice warned Iowa’s top officials last week that the agency would sue unless they agreed not to enforce the new law. The law is similar to a more expansive Texas statute that has been challenged by both the Justice Department and civil rights groups.

The Justice Department lawsuit was filed on the same day the ACLU of Iowa, national ACLU and the American Immigration Council filed suit to to block the law on behalf of the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice and two individual Iowans.

“This ugly law is deeply harmful to Iowa families and communities,” said Rita Bettis Austen, legal director of The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. “Iowa lawmakers knowingly targeted people who are protected by federal immigration laws and who are legally allowed to be here.”

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird said Thursday that the state would not back down, and that the law existed because President Joe Biden hasn’t secured the southern border.

“Iowa’s law is not unique; it simply enforces immigration laws while Biden refuses to,” Bird said in a written statement. “Iowa stands ready to defend our immigration law that keeps Iowa communities safe.”

You can read the full article at Associated Press.