Local Immigrant Contributions Shape National Conversation

Communications Associate

November 5, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — How are one town of nearly 69,000 in Iowa and 66 percent of Republican voters driving America’s immigration debate? They’re recognizing the important contributions of immigrants. And candidates might actually be listening.

Despite some negative rhetoric along the campaign trail, “What has gone mostly unnoticed (or at least unreported) is that a majority of Republican presidential candidates — now eight in total — support earned legal status for some part of the undocumented population,” Matthew la Corte, a research associate at the libertarian Niskanen Center, writes in the Washington Examiner.

“Moreover, 66 percent of Republican voters now agree. That’s a ten percentage point increase in support since May. These developments suggest an under-the-radar evolution in the GOP attitude toward undocumented immigration.”

The positive effects immigrant communities are having in cities such as Waterloo, Iowa, could be one reason.

“Waterloo has made a remarkable recovery in recent years, a transformation to which thousands of immigrant workers have made a major contribution. It’s a common story across the heartland, and across the nation,” the Boston Globe reports today. “ … Many employers here say they long for more, not fewer, immigrant workers, and certainly do not favor the mass deportations” that some presidential candidates have proposed.

“Voters are frustrated with politicians, and understandably so. But more and more are realizing that scapegoating immigrants is not the answer,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “The answer is for our political leaders to develop real immigration solutions that are fair to all Americans and help all of us thrive.”