The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Reynolds’ new law fails to help Iowans directly

A US Federal District Court Judge had temporarily blocked an Iowa law that would have permitted law enforcement to criminalize migrants with deportation warnings. Reynolds justifies this by slamming President Biden’s efforts to repel illegal immigration, even though his efforts contradict her claims.
Zachary Boyden-Holmes/ The Des Moines Register (Pool photo)
Gov. Kim Reynolds gives the annual Condition of the State address at the Iowa State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024.

The lower the rate, the safer the state.

On June 17, a federal judge ordered an injunction that blocked a new Iowa law. The law allowed law enforcement officers to file criminal charges against migrants with deportation orders or if they were denied entry into the U.S. Gov. Kim Reynolds issued the law, which justified this act under a pretense.

It’s no secret that border policy is a controversial issue in the United States, many Republicans including Reynolds firmly believe that President Joe Biden and his administration were not effective in handling the nation’s southern border.

As a result, Reynolds issued this law that would have granted power to state law enforcement to exile and penalize any migrant with deportation issues. The law was temporarily denied due to an injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Locher.

“As a matter of politics, the new legislation might be defensible,” Locher explained. “As a matter of constitutional law, it is not.”

The U.S. southern border, while one can fairly argue that it is a problem, is not a problem for Iowa. The southern border is 1,783 miles away from Iowa in driving distance. There is little risk if at all to any Iowan citizen based on that distance alone.

Furthermore, Reynolds justified this law by explaining President Biden’s efforts were ineffective in controlling illegal immigration along the southern border. This wasn’t the first time she criticized Biden, but Reynolds is misleading, as President Biden is following in President Trump and Obama’s footsteps. As talked about previously, Biden is not an advocate for open borders.

According to an article in the Washington Post, the Biden Administration has deported more than 142,000 immigrants in 2023. This is double the number from 2022, and 127,600 more than Trump’s deported immigrants in 2020.

Unfortunately, it seems this misleading belief is spreading amongst other Iowan politicians and lawmakers, as Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird stated in her efforts to appeal the judge’s decision.

“I am disappointed in today’s court decision that blocks Iowa from stopping illegal reentry and keeping our communities safe,” Bird said. “Since Biden refuses to secure our borders, he has left states with no choice but to do the job for him.”

Biden is doing his job. If anything he is inheriting the legacy from former President Barack Obama who deported 5.3 million immigrants during his term in office, prompting the name “Deporter in Chief”. Biden is inheriting Obama’s legacy, but the issue does not stop at illegal immigration.

Reynolds’ final justification for this law involves “rising crime, overdose deaths, and human trafficking.” While it is noble to protect people from these threats, Iowa is not currently at risk of a severe epidemic or rise in these problems.

Iowa was reported to rank number 23 on the human trafficking problem, not even in the top 10 states involving Florida, Texas, California, or any other state located near the coast or the borders.

Violent crime in Iowa has gone down in recent years. According to a report from the FBI, “Iowa’s violent crime rate is less than the national rate, which was 380.7 per 100,000 people for 2022, down from 387 in 2021, a 1.7 percent drop.”

Iowa is getting safer with each new year. Granted, crime still happens, but the lower the rate, the safer the state.

Reynolds should do more research before making objectively untrue claims. Iowa is getting safer when laws like this are blocked since they aren’t of Iowa’s business. Helping the average citizen directly with more security and financial aid is a start.

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About the Contributor
Aaron El-Kerdani
Aaron El-Kerdani, Opinions Columnist
Fouad "Aaron" El-Kerdani is a third year student a the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinema. Prior to joining The Daily Iowan, Aaron did some journalism work for his classess involving interviews, photography, video editing, traveling to another country to cover an event, and his experience in film classess helped him develop these skills and gain knowledge on camera work and writing.