Here’s where courts are slowing Republican efforts for a state role in enforcing immigration law

DES MOINES, Iowa — The federal government has long had sole authority over immigration policy in the United States, but several Republican-led states have continued to push for a role in enforcing regulations, out of frustration with current policies and as a way to challenge Democratic Criticizing US President Joe Biden.

Now that polls show that Americans are increasingly concerned about illegal immigration, that is indeed the case has become a major problem in the presidential campaign between Biden and Republican Donald Trump. Republican officials in several states say they owe it to their citizens to be more proactive in charging and deporting people who don’t have legal status to be in the U.S.

Iowa is among several states that have passed laws giving state law enforcement agencies and courts the right to bring criminal charges against people based on their immigration status, but this week a federal judge blocked the state’s new regulations which would come into effect on July 1.

A federal judge on Monday issued a preliminary injunction blocking a law passed by Republican lawmakers GOP Governor Kim Reynolds that gave state authorities some power left to federal officials. The Iowa law would allow prosecutors to file criminal charges against people who still have deportation orders or who have previously been removed from the U.S. or denied entry into the U.S.

After arrest, migrants would have the choice of agreeing to a judge’s order to leave the country or face prosecution, potentially facing a prison sentence before being deported.

The U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of civil rights groups filed a lawsuit arguing that Iowa’s new rules would create confusion and chaos. In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Locher temporarily blocked the law, saying the DOJ and civil rights groups were likely to succeed in their argument that federal immigration law would take precedence over Iowa’s new law.

Locher said the law may be “defensible” as a matter of politics, but “as a matter of constitutional law it is not.”

Iowa’s Republican Attorney General Brenna Bird criticized the Biden administration for trying to block the state’s law and vowed to appeal.

Texas has taken the lead in seeking a state role in immigration enforcement, passing a law allowing migrants in custody on charges of illegal entry to comply with the order a judge to leave the country, otherwise they could be prosecuted. The law was in effect before just a few hours in March before a three-judge federal appeals court put the case on hold.

The DOJ has sued Oklahoma to block a similar law, arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

In Georgia, a new law requires prison officials to contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to determine whether prisoners are known to be in the country illegally. The law makes it a crime to knowingly fail to verify immigration status and denies government funding to local governments that do not cooperate.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed a law requiring law enforcement agencies to communicate to federal authorities if they know of people who are in the country illegally and to help authorities identify, detain and detain them. to deport.

New Hampshire lawmakers also approved a proposal targeting people suspected of entering the country illegally, which would make it a crime to cross certain property preserved as open space unless they are engaged in permitted activities such as hunting, fishing or hiking. The change to the state’s misdemeanor law awaits the governor’s signature.

Democratic-led states have largely left immigration enforcement to the Biden administration, but some have sought to expand immigrants’ rights.

In Maryland, lawmakers passed a bill seeking a federal policy waiver to let people buy health insurance through the state’s health care exchange, regardless of immigration status.

Arizona’s Democratic governor, Katie Hobbs, vetoed a bill similar to the Texas law in March, prompting lawmakers to narrowly approve a measure asking voters to make it a state crime for not -citizens to enter the state at any location other than a point of entry. The measure will take effect on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Polls show this more than half of American adults think Biden’s immigration policies have hurt the country.

Trump and other Republicans have tried to take advantage of that vulnerability by spotlighting asylum seekers and other migrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally

Biden and some other Democrats have responded by noting that the president had proposed strict immigration restrictions but they were blocked by Republicans, with the president claiming that was what Trump wanted. keep the conflict alive as a campaign issue.


Jeff Amy in Atlanta; Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland; and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.