DES MOINES, IA — Today, business leaders gathered at the Des Moines Capitol to announce the Iowa Compact on Immigration, a set of principles outlining the need for smart immigration policies at the state and federal levels to drive Iowa’s economy forward. The Iowa Compact on Immigration recognizes and supports the positive impact that immigrants have on Iowa’s economy as workers, business owners, taxpayers, and consumers. The Compact, which is signed by more than 40 signatories, calls for a federal immigration system that meets the needs of Iowa’s employers and labor market; a permanent solution for undocumented Iowans who make significant contributions to our state’s economy; and a secure, efficient southern border. Read the full Iowa Compact on Immigration and find all of its signatories here.
“Employers in Iowa know that immigration is crucial to the future health of their businesses and their state’s greater economy,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “The Iowa Compact on Immigration presents a clear vision both of why immigration is important and how broad the support is for reform.”
“It is time to modernize our outdated immigration system to make it truly responsive to today’s economy,” said Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “The immigration reform principles outlined in the Compact would help Iowa meet its growing workforce needs and drive future economic growth across our state.”
The Iowa Compact on Immigration support comes as new data from New American Economy (NAE) shows just how much immigrant contributions add to Iowa’s economy. For example, in 2017, immigrants in Iowa paid $390 million in state and local taxes and held $3.4 billion in spending power.
“Having studied, lived and worked both in Iowa and abroad has given me a unique opportunity to recognize the potential that our state holds, but it has also brought on realizations that our current immigration system can only go so far in providing a pathway for the workers we need,” said Yena Balekyani, Founder & Executive Director of Congo Girls United. “The wide-ranging number of associations, business leaders, and industries involved in the signing of the Compact underscores just how important reform would be to our economy and the many areas that require foreign-born workers. If these priorities are followed, Iowa can truly showcase the entrepreneurial spirit that immigrants embody and our economy will respond positively to this progress.”
“At the end of the day, immigration reform is about empowering our economy to reach its full potential,” added David Stark, President & CEO of UnityPoint Health in Des Moines. “For Iowans, these priorities will give us the tools to create a dynamic workforce and bring in the talent and innovation that will improve the quality of life needs of all Iowans. I fully support this prescription for immigration reform, and I look forward to having key conversations with our leaders in Washington to ensure these issues are a priority.”
Marty Martin, President of Drake University, added, “If there’s one thing we understand about our state’s history, it’s that Iowa isn’t afraid to take the lead on meeting the challenges facing our country. This Iowa Compact sets the standard for true immigration reform which would have a multitude of positive impacts across the job market, our education system, and our communities that are enriched by a diverse citizenry. It is my hope that Iowa’s leaders and the signers of the Compact will help our state become a model for modernizing our immigration system by pointing out the needs of our economy and the policies that will drive us forward.”