The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is celebrating the Iowa Supreme Court’s dismissal of felony charges against an undocumented immigrant who’s lived in Iowa for two decades.
Martha Martinez came into the country illegally with her parents when she was 11. She was charged with identity theft and forgery for using a fake ID to get a job. Rita Bettis, the legal director for the ACLU of Iowa, said since Martinez went through “rigorous background checks” to get legal residency status under President Obama’s “Deferred Action on Childhood Arrival’s policy, she was shielded from the kind of charges filed against her.
“Mrs. Martinez grew up in Muscatine, attended Muscatine High School, graduated there,” Bettis said. “The decision recognizes she’s been a model citizen. She has four US citizen children and DACA was created to allow that special group of ‘Dreamers’ to come out of the shadows, finally.”
Bettis called the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision a “strong rebuke” of the Muscatine County Attorney who filed the charges against Martinez in state court.
“Really at its heart, this is a human rights case and it couldn’t be more important for immigrants living in Iowa,” Bettis said, “but it’s also a pragmatic case because it recognizes that we can only have one federal immigration law, that we can’t have 99 separate immigration policies.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa had filed a “friend of the court” brief and participated in oral arguments on the case before the Iowa Supreme Court.