US and Iowa Flags in a Cornfield in Iowa
The law allows Iowa officers to arrest undocumented immigrants who have previously been deported or barred from entering the country Reuters

The U.S. Department of Justice said it will sue Iowa if it doesn't backtrack on the implementation of a new immigration law criminalizing "illegal re entry," a top DOJ official said in a statement.

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, according to a letter obtained by the Des Moines Register.

In the letter, Boynton also explains that the law is preempted by federal law and hence violates the U.S. Constitution.

The law was first signed in April after being passed by the Republican-led Legislature. It 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 to their home country.

The DOJ set a deadline of May 7 to suspend enforcement of the law before the department takes action.

According to the Des Moines Register, the law also violated the Immigration and Nationality Act. In the letter, Boynton also explains that the measure clashes "with various provisions of federal law permitting noncitizens to seek protection from removal to avoid persecution or torture."

However, the state's attorney general said in a statement that they will not "back down."

"Not only has Biden refused to enforce federal immigration laws and secure borders, he is now threatening to block states like Iowa from enforcing our own laws," Attorney General Brenna Bird said in response. "Our message to Biden is this: Iowa will not back down and stand by as our state's safety hangs in the balance. If Biden refuses to stop the border invasion and keep our communities safe, Iowa will do the job for him."

Similarly, Gov. Kim Reynolds stated that the state needed the law due to the current administration's poor record on immigration enforcement.

"The only reason we had to pass this law is because the Biden administration refused to enforce the laws already on the books," Reynolds said in a statement provided to the Register. "I have a duty to protect the citizens of Iowa. Unlike the federal government, we will respect the rule of law and enforce it."

Iowa is not the only state that has imposed laws of this nature (or attempted to). In fact, it is merely one of the several conservative-led states to do so.

The most notorious one is Texas' SB4, as the controversial bill is known, which creates a Class B misdemeanor for illegal entry that can be punished with up to 180 days in county jail and/or fine up to $2,000. A repeated offense is elevated to a state jail felony.

That law was immediately challenged on constitutional grounds by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Department of Justice when Gov. Greg Abbott signed it in December. Since then, the bill has been disputed between a federal appeals court and the Supreme Court since a temporary injunction was issued on Feb. 29. It briefly went into effect on March 19 only to be halted hours later.

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