Iowa Senate passes immigration bill that allows deportations

DES MOINES — The Iowa Senate passed a bill along party lines that would authorize law enforcement in the state to arrest immigrants who are here illegally and empower Iowa judges to order deportations.

Under the bill it would become a state crime for a person to enter the state if they were already deported or refused entry into the U.S. Republican Senator Jeff Reichman  of Montrose, says the state must step in because the Biden administration has allowed record numbers of illegal border crossings. “They refuse to enforce the laws,” he says. Democrats opposed the bill. They say immigration is a federal issue and it would be unconstitutional for the state to get involved with arresting and removing people from the country.

Democratic Senator Janice Weiner  of Iowa City says it would be unconstitutional for the state to take over enforcement of immigration laws. She says if GOP Senators want to change border policies they should lobby the state’s federal delegation to support the bipartisan deal that stalled in Congress. “Get them to bring the compromise to the floor and vote for it,” she says. Republican supporters say lax border enforcement is a threat to Iowa. They blame it for the high levels of fentanyl and other drugs confiscated in traffic stops on Iowa interstates.

The bill is similar to a Texas law the U-S Supreme Court has put on hold.