Posted on May 6, 2024

US Justice Department Warns It Will Sue if Iowa Tries to Enforce Its New Immigration Law

Galen Bacharier, Des Moines Register, May 3, 2024

The U.S. Department of Justice will sue Iowa to block a new immigration law criminalizing “illegal reentry” if it remains in effect, a top DOJ official wrote to Gov. Kim Reynolds and Attorney General Brenna Bird Thursday.

In a letter obtained by the Des Moines Register, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton wrote that the department “intends to bring a lawsuit to enforce the supremacy of federal law and to enjoin” the new immigration law passed as Senate File 2340.

“SF 2340 is preempted by federal law and violates the United States Constitution,” Boynton wrote.

He gave the state a deadline of May 7 to suspend enforcement of the law before the DOJ takes action.

The law, signed in April after passing the Republican-led Legislature, allows Iowa officers to arrest undocumented immigrants who have previously been deported or barred from entering the country. If convicted, a judge could order that they be deported back to their home country.

Boynton wrote that the law “effectively creates a separate state immigration scheme,” which “intrudes into a field that is occupied by the federal government and is preempted.”


Reynolds retorted that Iowa needed the law because of the Biden administration’s poor record on immigration.


The attorney general said in a statement that “Iowa will not back down.”