Republican States Eye Immigration Legislation Similar to Texas


On Tuesday, the same day that the Supreme Court briefly allowed Texas to enforce a new law empowering police officers to arrest unauthorized migrants, Iowa lawmakers passed a bill that would make it a crime to enter their state after being deported or denied entry into the United States.

Several other states, all controlled by Republicans, are hoping to follow suit.

West Virginia and Mississippi are among the half-dozen or so states that have introduced similar legislation related to illegal entry this year, according to groups involved in migration issues.

So, too, have Oklahoma and Missouri. Missouri, in fact, has two bills. And one bill, sponsored by State Senator Bill Eigel, who is also running for governor, had a committee hearing last week.

“Most members of the committee are very familiar with the invasion that is going on right now as we speak down at our southern border, and really the failures of our federal government led by President Joe Biden to deal with that,” Mr. Eigel, who represents a St. Louis suburb, said during the hearing.

It is too early to tell whether any of these bills will advance as far as Iowa’s did. A similar bill in Arizona, which was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, was vetoed by Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat. But none of the states eyeing immigration laws similar to Texas have Democratic governors.

Still, supporters and opponents of the Texas law said that they would not be surprised if lawmakers in other states tried to introduce similar measures in the next couple of months, as most legislative sessions begin to wind down.

“The bigger picture is, given the scope of illegal immigration and the impact that it’s having on states and local communities, we’re likely to see more efforts on the parts of these jurisdictions to try to discourage people from settling there illegally, “said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which supports reducing immigration.

Democrats, though, are already vowing to make the Texas case — and now, Iowa — a part of the 2024 election campaign.

“In the case of anti-immigration legislation, this split-screen couldn’t be clearer,” said Abhi Rahman, a spokesman for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. “Republicans are scapegoating immigrants and refusing to solve the actual problems we’re seeing at the border, then copying laws in states nowhere near the border as well.”

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