In a split decision, the Iowa Supreme Court has dismissed the identity theft case against an undocumented immigrant granted temporary legal status during the Obama Administration.
When Martha Martinez was 11, she moved from Mexico to Muscatine with her parents. Martinez is now 30 and the mother of four kids who were born in Iowa. After President Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” order, she obtained a Social Security number and legal residency papers. She then applied for an Iowa driver’s license, but facial recognition software indicated Martinez got a license under another name when she was 17.
Martinez was charged with identity theft and forgery. She had used the fake ID to get a job. Four justices on the Iowa Supreme Court voted to dismiss the state’s case against Martinez. The majority ruled federal immigration laws on employment preempt state laws. However, the court’s opinion noted Martinez could be subject now to federal prosecution.
Three justices on the Iowa court joined in a dissent, arguing the dismissal provides a “exclusive benefit” for undocumented immigrants working in Iowa “under an alias to avoid paying taxes or cover up a criminal history.” The dissent was written by Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield, who was on Donald Trump’s list of 21 potential nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court.