By attorneys Maria Brownell and Kristine Stone
Failure to comply with new law requiring local entities to cooperate with federal authorities in the enforcement of immigration laws could result in denial of State funds.
On April 10, 2018, Governor Reynolds signed into law Senate File 481, an Act relating to the enforcement of immigration laws and providing penalties and remedies, including the denial of state funds to certain entities.
The law expressly requires local entities to comply with directives of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement or any other federal agency regarding federal immigration laws, including an immigration detainer. "Local entity" means the governing body of a city or county and includes an officer or employee of a local entity or a division, department, or other body that is part of the local entity, including but not limited to a sheriff, police department, city attorney, or county attorney.
Local governmental entities may not adopt or enforce any policy that would discourage enforcement of federal immigration law or cooperation with federal immigration officers. In certain circumstances, local law enforcement may be required to cooperate and assist with enforcement of federal immigration laws. Local entities may not discourage or prohibit such cooperation and assistance.
The law expressly prohibits local entities from discriminating against any person on the basis of race, skin color, language, or national origin in the enforcement of immigration laws, except to the extent allowed under state or federal constitutions.
The law requires all law enforcement agencies to formalize in writing any unwritten, informal policies relating to the enforcement of immigration laws and to update their policies to be consistent with the law, to require each officer and employee to fully comply with the law, and to prohibit an officer or employee from preventing law enforcement agency personnel from fully complying with the law. Law enforcement agencies must adopt written policies demonstrating compliance with the law by January 1, 2019.
Any person may file a complaint with the Iowa Attorney General's Office alleging a violation of this law. A complaint is not valid unless the Attorney General determines that the local governmental entity intentionally violated the new law. Upon said determination, the AG must provide written notification of the complaint and the grounds for the complaint. The AG may file a civil action in district court to enjoin the violation no later than 40 days after the date on which the notice of violation is received if the entity does not come into compliance with the new law. The entity may be denied state funds for the state fiscal year following the year in which a final judicial determination in a civil action is made. The Department of Management must adopt rules to implement the denial of state funds.
Cities and counties must review and update their policies relating to the enforcement of immigration laws no later than January 1, 2019.
About Ahlers & Cooney's Client Alerts
Our Client Alerts are intended to provide occasional general comments on new developments in Federal and State law and regulations which we believe might be of interest to our clients. The Client Alerts should not be considered opinions of Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., and are not intended to provide legal advice as a substitute for seeking professional counsel. Readers should not under any circumstance act upon the information in this publication without seeking specific professional counsel. Ahlers & Cooney will be pleased to provide additional details regarding any article upon request. Additional copies of this Client Alert may be obtained by contacting any attorney in the Firm or by visiting the Firm's website at www.ahlerslaw.com. ©2018 Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. All Rights Reserved.
NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC
The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. This disclosure is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Iowa. Memberships and offices in legal fraternities and legal societies, technical and professional licenses, and memberships in scientific, technical and professional associations and societies of law or field of practice does not mean that a lawyer is a specialist or expert in a field of law, nor does it mean that such lawyer is necessarily any more expert or competent than any other lawyer. All potential clients are urged to make their own independent investigation and evaluation of any lawyer being considered. This notice is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Iowa.