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Iowa defends immigration law that allows local officials to arrest people told to leave US

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Iowa defends immigration law that allows local officials to arrest people told to leave US


DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa defended its new immigration law on Monday and argued that the state’s ability to file criminal charges against people did not infringe on federal authority over immigration because local officials would abide by all federal regulations.

Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of civil rights groups are seeking a temporary or permanent injunction of the law, which goes into effect July 1 unless it’s blocked by the courts. The law is similar to one in Texas, which has been temporarily blocked, and another in Oklahoma that the DOJ is seeking to stop.

U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Locher said “I’ll do my best” to rule quickly on the injunction request. Locher noted the likelihood his ruling would be appealed, calling it the “first step along this journey.”

The Iowa law would allow criminal charges to be brought against people who have outstanding deportation orders or who previously have been removed from or denied admission to the U.S. Once in custody, migrants could either agree to a judge’s order to leave the U.S. or be prosecuted, potentially facing time in prison before deportation.

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Patrick Valencia, Iowa’s deputy solicitor general, told the judge that the state’s law wouldn’t establish new immigration rules but only allow state law enforcement and courts to apply federal law.

“We have a law that adopts the federal standard,” Valencia said.

The lawyers seeking an injunction countered that the Iowa law, approved by state legislators in the last legislative session, said the new rules without question violate the federal government’s sole authority over immigration matters.

“It’s clearly a federal responsibility,” said Christopher Eiswerth, a DOJ attorney.

Eiswerth and Emma Winger, representing the American Immigration Council, said the state law doesn’t make exceptions for people who have been deported before but now are in the country legally, such as those seeking asylum.

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Valencia denied that, saying if someone is legally in Iowa under federal rules, the state will not prosecute them.

The law is similar but less expansive than a Texas law, which was in effect for only a few confusing hours in March before it was put on hold by a federal appeals court’s three-judge panel.

Some law enforcement officials and legal experts have said unanswered questions remain about how the law in Iowa would be implemented, since enforcement of immigration law has historically fallen to the federal government and is a binational process.

In court documents, that state said law enforcement would contact the federal government to determine a person’s immigration status since Iowa “does not maintain an independent immigration database.”

It’s up to federal authorities to determine if the person is violating federal law, the state argued. If that’s the case, the state said the person is violating Iowa’s law, too.

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While the federal lawsuit alleged that Iowa was interfering with the deportation process and foreign relations by ordering someone to leave, Iowa said the law — Senate File 2340 — only allows Iowa officials to bring migrants “to federal immigration officers at one of Iowa’s ports of entry.”

“Under SF2340, federal officials retain their discretion to offer asylum or other removal relief at U.S. ports of entry,” the state argued, adding that the federal government would still decide where people should be sent if they are deported from Iowa.

Outside the hearing, more than 100 people held signs and listened to brief speeches in Spanish and English that opposed the new law and called for people to care for each other.

Erica Johnson, executive director of the Iowa Migrant Move for Justice, said the country needs a workable immigration system but that the Iowa law worsens matters.

“It’s unworkable. It’s creating fear and driving misinformation in immigrant communities around our state,” Johnson said. “Supporters of the law say they passed it because they were tired of the way the federal government was handling immigration but this law is no solution to that.”

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DNR proposes new deer hunting restrictions for southwest Iowa • Iowa Capital Dispatch

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DNR proposes new deer hunting restrictions for southwest Iowa • Iowa Capital Dispatch


State regulators are seeking to severely restrict the hunting of female deer in several southwest Iowa counties in an effort to increase the animal’s population in that area.

Hunters in six counties would be barred from shooting white-tailed does during the first shotgun season, and none of the counties will have additional doe licenses available for other seasons.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has proposed changes to antlerless license quotas for 2024. (Courtesy of Iowa DNR)

Those counties include Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Shelby. The new restrictions already exist in 17 counties of northwest Iowa, where some have been in place for a decade.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has been gradually reducing the number of licenses for antlerless deer in the southwest counties in recent years.

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“This is in response to what we’ve noticed is a sustained population decline,” said Jace Elliott, the DNR’s deer biologist. “The hunters in that area, what I’m hearing from them is, it’s about time. I’m always surprised when we propose relatively large changes, and I don’t get a single person reaching out from that part of the state that’s even confused about why we’re going in that direction.”

Also, no doe licenses would be issued for Cass and Page counties, and the number of available licenses will be reduced for Adams and Montgomery counties.

The department might finalize the new restrictions next month as it hosts a series of meetings that are part of its Western Iowa Deer Initiative, which is meant to solicit input from hunters and landowners.

The new restrictions represent a significant reversal of the state’s policies two decades ago, when there was a robust deer population in southwest Iowa. The DNR had made thousands of antlerless licenses available and also allowed hunters to use powerful rifles during special January seasons to encourage more participation.

“It worked probably too well,” Elliott said. “At the time, people didn’t have the foresight to realize that we’d be in this situation.”

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He said deer numbers declined gradually over time in the area and — because of the area’s relatively open landscape — were unable to rebound as they quickly can in southeast Iowa, where there are vast areas for deer to hide.

Tim Powers, an Iowa field director for Whitetails Unlimited, a group that promotes hunting and habitat conservation, said he trusts that the DNR’s decision to impose new restrictions is necessary to increase deer numbers.

“I’d go along with what their research is telling them to do,” he said.

The restrictions have worked in north-central Iowa, where they have been lifted or loosened in some counties in recent years as populations recovered, Elliott said. It will likely take at least five years to notice an appreciable improvement in southwest counties. Those with the quickest gains are typically adjacent to counties with larger populations and have more available habitat.

The following DNR public meetings are scheduled to go from 6:30 to 8 p.m.:

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— July 8: Atlantic, at The Venue, 307 Walnut St.
— July 9: Denison, at the Lookout Shelter at Yellow Smoke Park, 2237 Yellow Smoke Road
— July 10: Council Bluffs, at Bass Pro Shops, 2901 Bass Pro Drive
— July 11: Shenandoah, at the Shenandoah Public Library, 201 S. Elm St.
— July 15: Onawa, at the Onawa Public Library, 707 Iowa Ave.
— July 16: Sioux Center, at the Sandy Hollow Clubhouse, 3395 400th St.
— July 17: Sioux City, at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, 4500 Sioux River Road
— July 18: Cherokee, at the Cherokee Community Center, 530 W. Bluff St.



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Iowa Health and Human Services finds third and fourth safe haven babies this year

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Iowa Health and Human Services finds third and fourth safe haven babies this year


Two more babies enter the custody of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), one boy and one girl. This brings the total number of infants surrendered under Iowa’s Safe Haven Act to 70.

The two will be placed in foster care until a permanent family can be found. They are the third and fourth safe haven babies this year, after two others were accepted in March.

Last year, 10 babies were taken in by Iowa HHS under the Safe Haven Act.

Iowa’s Safe Haven Act was first passed in 2002. It allows parents who do not believe they can care for an infant to leave them at a fire station, hospital or other approved facility without being prosecuted for abandonment.

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The law also allows for parents to call 911 and physically surrender custody to a 911 first responder. Both options are open until the infant is 90 days old.



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Iowa seeks USDA resources to combat H5N1 – Brownfield Ag News

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Iowa seeks USDA resources to combat H5N1 – Brownfield Ag News


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Iowa seeks USDA resources to combat H5N1

U.S. Congressman Zach Nunn says he has requested resources from USDA that would help support poultry and dairy farmers impacted by H5N1 Influenza A.

“One of the things we need to be identifying here is what we can do to move, help monitor and identify to prevent spread.”

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According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, avian influenza cases have been detected this month on some dairy operations in O’Brien and Sioux counties.

Nunn tells Brownfield it remains safe to consume dairy and poultry products. “Iowa’s farmers and producers provide nearly 10% of the entire country’s food supply, and we want to ensure that food supply chain is successful. And that means going after the specific causes of avian flu.”

State Ag Secretary Mike Naig has asked USDA to provide compensation for lost milk production at a minimum of 90% of fair market value.

AUDIO: Iowa Congressman Zach Nunn 6-11-2024

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