As signers of the Iowa Compact on Immigration, we are committed to promoting common-sense immigration reforms that will strengthen our economy, as well as attract talent and business to our state.
With the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, we recognize the critical role immigration will play in driving continued economic growth. In 2017 alone, immigrants in Iowa contributed $390 million in state and local taxes and held $3.4 billion in spending power. Our ability to attract new citizens will be a key to keeping our workforce young and competitive in some of our state’s most important industries, from agriculture and manufacturing to science, technology, engineering, and math.
Therefore, we support bipartisan immigration policy reforms that ensure our federal system meets the needs of our employers and labor market; will provide a permanent solution for undocumented Iowans who make significant contributions to our state’s economy; and secure our southern border while enforcing our nation’s laws. Iowa’s immigration policies must reflect and reaffirm our global reputation as a welcoming, hospitable, and business-friendly state.
We urge state leaders and our national congressional delegation to adopt these six principles of the Iowa Compact on Immigration to guide the immigration discussion in our state.
1. FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY: Immigration policy is a federal issue between the U.S. government and other countries. We urge our Iowa congressional delegation to work to enact immigration policy at the federal level that improves our immigration system, keeps our communities safe, and protects our borders.
2. STRENGTHENING OUR ECONOMY & WORKFORCE: For our state economy to grow and compete, Iowa needs a robust workforce and policies that prioritize attracting and retaining international talent. Our immigration system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses while protecting the interests of workers. This includes a visa system that is both responsive to and effective at meeting the demands of our economy and the industries that drive growth in our state.
3. A COMMON-SENSE APPROACH: Immigrants have always been and remain an important part of our communities across Iowa. We must adopt a common-sense approach to immigration that reflects our long-established values and recognizes the critical role immigration has played in both our state’s, as well as our nation’s history and economy. Our immigration policies must provide a sensible path forward for immigrants wishing to come to our country and a permanent resolution for those who are of good character, pay taxes, and are committed to becoming fully participating members of our society and culture, but lack legal status.
4. EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT: We support a law enforcement strategy that focuses on public safety, targets serious crime, and safeguards witnesses and victims. We further urge a reasonable and predictable regulatory environment that considers the interests of, and unintended consequences to businesses, the workforce, and consumers. Furthermore, the broader reform effort should eventually include a way to accurately, reliably, and affordably determine who is permitted to work, ensuring an adequate workforce for a growing economy.
5. FAMILY: Strong families are critical to developing successful individuals and cohesive communities. Our immigration policies, where possible, should prioritize keeping families together in order to ensure the most supportive home environments for all children across our state.
6. COMPETITIVE COMMUNITIES: We recognize that the communities that are able to attract a competitive workforce will continue to grow and those communities are generally the ones who embrace and welcome new citizens. We support local policies that create an environment that ensures that all residents have the tools and opportunities they need to succeed.
Associated General Contractors of Iowa
Iowa Business Council
Iowa Lodging Association
President & CEO, Mason City Chamber of Commerce
Founder & Executive Director, Congo Girls United
Economist, Iowa State University
CEO, Greater Des Moines Partnership
President & CEO, Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce
Immigrant Attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm
President & Founder, Tero International, Inc.
President & CEO, Ames Chamber of Commerce
CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber
President & CEO, Iowa Restaurant Association
Vice President of Operations, Apache Inc.
President, Marion Economic Development
President & CEO, Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce
CEO, Raining Rose
President and CEO,
United Equipment Accessories, Inc. (UEA)
President, Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association
President, Hughes Nursery & Landscaping
President & CEO, Greater Burlington Partnership
President & CEO, Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry
President & CEO, Master Builders of Iowa
President, Koester Development
Thomas J. Mahoney, Jr.
Chairman & CEO, ITA Group, Inc.
President, Drake University
President, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce
John “Jack” Mutti
Economist, Grinnell College
Co-Chairman & CEO, Knapp Properties, Inc.
Executive Director, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance
President, Iowa City Area Development Group
Executive Director, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce
Economist, Iowa State University
Sociologist, Iowa State University
President, Iowa Association of Business and Industry
CEO, Mercy Health Network
President & CEO, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
President, R&R Realty Group
President, North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp.
President & CEO, UnityPoint Health – Des Moines
President & General Manager, Genova Technologies
Executive Director, Iowa Chamber Alliance
Therese (Terri) Vaughan
Professor of Insurance and Actuarial Science, Drake University
Economist, University of Iowa (Emeritus)