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Republican Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law on Wednesday aimed at enhancing immigration enforcement within the state. The new law, set to take effect on July 1, grants state authorities the power to arrest and deport immigrants who have previously been deported or denied entry into the country, making “illegal reentry” a state crime punishable by up to two years in prison and deportation.

Governor Reynolds justified the law as a necessary step to address the failures of the Biden administration in enforcing immigration laws, which, according to her, have jeopardized the safety and security of Iowans. She emphasized that those entering the country illegally have violated the law and criticized the federal government for its lax approach to deportation.

The law also includes provisions for harsher penalties, such as Class C felonies and up to 10 years in prison, for immigrants arrested for other felonies if they are found to have entered the U.S. illegally. Additionally, judges in Iowa are mandated to order the deportation of individuals convicted of illegal entry.

This move by Iowa echoes similar measures taken in Texas, although the Texas law is currently entangled in a legal dispute with the Biden administration. The federal government has challenged state-level immigration laws, arguing that they encroach upon federal jurisdiction and undermine established immigration policies.

Critics of Iowa’s new immigration law, including advocacy groups like the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice and the ACLU, condemn it as unconstitutional, discriminatory, and driven by political motives. They argue that such laws create confusion among immigrants and interfere with federal preemption, highlighting the complexity and sensitivity of immigration policy.

Supporters of state-level immigration enforcement measures assert that the federal government’s handling of border security under the Biden administration has been inadequate, leading to a surge in illegal crossings and posing security risks. They argue that states have a legitimate role in protecting their borders and citizens, especially in the face of what they perceive as a crisis at the southern border with millions of migrant encounters and illegal entries reported.