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News Posted on July 6, 2017

Dean Johnson Comments for Bloomberg BNA on Iowa Supreme Court Immigration Case

Dean Kevin R. Johnson commented for Bloomberg BNA on State v. Martinez, in which the Iowa Supreme Court dismissed state charges against an undocumented immigrant who used fake documents to obtain employment before she enrolled in the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides work permits and protection from deportation for certain undocumented immigrants. The court held that federal law and policy override state laws against forgery and identity theft when applied to immigrants seeking employment.

The case is part of the “continuing saga” of “state and federal governments trying to figure out who’s in charge of immigration,” Johnson said. The Iowa court’s decision was largely based on recognizing the federal government’s prosecutorial discretion with regard to immigration, he said, noting that “there’s a federal statute they could proceed under” if the federal government had wanted to prosecute. The court’s narrow holding makes it unlikely this case would go to the U.S. Supreme Court, Johnson said.

Kevin R. Johnson is Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o studies at UC Davis School of Law. He is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of immigration law and policy, refugee law, and civil rights.