Can Iowa Throw Illegal Aliens Out?

Press Releases

June 12, 2024

IRLI defends new state immigration law, showing it was contemplated by Congress

WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a brief in an Iowa federal district court defending Iowa’s new immigration law from lawsuits brought by the Biden administration and anti-borders activists in an attempt to shut the law down.

Following the example of Texas, which in response to the border crisis passed a sweeping immigration law now ensnared in the courts, Iowa recently passed a law that makes illegal reentry into the United States a state crime, and provides that aliens found guilty of that crime may avoid jail time by agreeing to be taken out of the country by Iowa officials. Immediately, the federal government, joined by anti-borders activist groups, sued to strike down the law, claiming it is preempted by federal immigration law.

In its brief, IRLI shows that the law, far from being preempted, is actually contemplated by the federal government’s own criminal reentry statute, which makes it a federal crime to reenter the country after having been removed—including having been removed by agreeing to removal in a state court.

“As we show, these are two more meritless lawsuits by an administration and its allies trying desperately to stop states from doing anything about the problem the federal government itself refuses to solve,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Far from being inconsistent with this state law, federal immigration law explicitly gives effect to state removal laws such as this. We hope our brief, by bringing this feature of federal immigration law to the court’s attention, convinces the court to reject these radical attempts to strike down Iowa’s effort to defend itself.”

The case is Haitian Bridge Alliance v. Biden, No. 1:21-cv-03317 (D.D.C.).

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