Iowa Leaders Release Open Letter to the Iowa Congressional Delegation in Response to the Decision to End DACA

Leaders cite economic impact of DACA-eligible population and call on state delegation to pass meaningful legislation to help keep DREAMers in the U.S.

Des Moines, IA — Today, local leaders in Iowa released an open letter addressed to the Iowa Congressional Delegation in response to the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. The group cited economic data compiled by New American Economy (NAE) on the DACA-eligible population in the state, and called on the delegation to pass meaningful legislation that allows DREAMers to stay and contribute to the Iowa economy.

The open letter to the Iowa Congressional Delegation is released today by a cohort of state leaders who will lead the charge to mobilize signatures and support from additional leading voices across the state.

Letter to the Iowa Congressional Delegation

As leaders and representatives of some of Iowa’s most important industries, we are committed to making sure our state’s economy continues to grow and create jobs for all Iowans. From family farms to higher education, and from main street businesses to the Fortune 500, Iowa’s economy relies on all of our hard workers and taxpayers to drive our state forward. That’s why we strongly oppose the decision by the Trump Administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has helped thousands of young Iowan’s pay their way through school, contribute to our state’s workforce, start new businesses that create jobs, and have the opportunity to call the Hawkeye State home. 

Nationwide, there are as many as 1.3 million individuals who are DACA-eligible. The vast majority of them have graduated high school, and more than 90 percent speak English well or better. Collectively, they earn $19.9 billion in total income each year, and contribute more than $3 billion to federal, state and local taxes. Recent data from the Cato Institute estimated that deporting individuals with DACA status would cost the federal government over $60 billion, with an additional $280 billion in lost economic growth over the next decade.

In Iowa alone, as many as 2,798 young people are DACA recipients, the vast majority (an estimated 2,434) of whom are already working and contributing to our state’s key industries. According to a recent study, removing current DACA recipients would cost Iowa more than $188 million in GDP every year. These young people are crucial to our state’s economic future, and it makes business sense to keep them in the country and allow them to work here.

We call on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act that will allow this population to stay in the U.S. and continue contributing to our workforce. Our future success depends on it. Let’s work together to keep the Iowa economy strong.


The Most Reverend Bishop Richard E. Pates, Des Moines Catholic Diocese 

School Board Member Rob Barron, Des Moines Public Schools

Phil Wise, Owner of Wise Consulting and Former Iowa State Representative

Isaiah McGee, Adjunct Drake Professor and Former Waukee City Council Member 

Luis Arredondo, Cultural Ministry Coordinator for Lutheran Church of Hope

Steve Bahls, Tri-chair of Q2030 Quad Cities Regional Action Plan

Mary Bontrager, Executive Vice President of Talent Development at Greater Des Moines Partnership

Ben Bruns, Business Development Director, The Weitz Company 

Jay Byers, CEO at Greater Des Moines Partnership

Lori Chesser, Attorney with Davis Brown Law Firm

Joe Crookham, CEO of Musco Lighting

Dan Culhane, President & CEO of Ames Chamber of Commerce

Di Daniels, SALUD

Rob Denson, President of DMACC

Tej Dhawan, Managing Partner of Mango Seed Investments and Partner of Formation Partners 

Kent Henning, President of Grand View University

Drew Kamp, Director of Story County Community Outreach and Government Relations for Ames Chamber of Commerce

Pastor Matt Mardis-Lecroy, Plymouth Church

Molly Peiffer, recent Simpson College graduate

Kent Pilcher, Tri-chair of Q2030 Quad Cities Regional Action Plan

Mark Putnam, President of Central College

Suku Radia, CEO of Bankers Trust

Joe Slavens, Tri-chair of Q2030 Quad Cities Regional Action Plan 

Cindy Wells, Director of Global Mission for Western Iowa Synod

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…