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