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Press Release

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against the State of Iowa Regarding Unconstitutional State Immigration Law

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department today filed suit against the State of Iowa to challenge Senate File 2340 (SF 2340) under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause and Foreign Commerce Clause. The Constitution assigns the federal government to regulate immigration and manage our international borders. Pursuant to this authority, Congress has established a comprehensive immigration framework governing the entry of noncitizens into the U.S. and the removal of noncitizens from the country. Because SF 2340 is preempted by federal law and violates the United States Constitution, the Justice Department seeks a declaration that SF 2340 is invalid and an order preliminarily or permanently enjoining the state from enforcing the law.

“Iowa cannot disregard the U.S. Constitution and settled Supreme Court precedent,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division. “We have brought this action to ensure that Iowa adheres to the framework adopted by Congress and the Constitution for regulation of immigration.”   

As outlined in the complaint, Iowa’s law would create a new state crime for unlawful reentry, with charges ranging from an aggravated misdemeanor to a felony. Additionally, SF 2340 would require state judges to order removal from the United States. The Supreme Court, in Arizona v. United States, has previously confirmed that decisions relating to removal of noncitizens from the United States touch “on foreign relations and must be made with one voice.” SF 2340 impedes the federal government’s ability to enforce entry and removal provisions of federal law and interferes with its conduct of foreign relations.

The suit was filed on behalf of the United States, including Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State.

Updated May 9, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-593