The Economic Argument for the Iowa Compact on Immigration

A month after the federal government shutdown over an impasse on immigration policy, over 30 business leaders, industry associations, economists, and civic leaders released the Iowa Compact on Immigration. The Compact recommends a set of key principles to guide the immigration debate in Iowa and at the federal level.

Building such wide consensus is rare—so why have Iowans across the state come together to promote common-sense immigration reforms? The signatories of the Compact all agree: immigrants have a positive impact on the Iowa economy as workers, business owners, taxpayers, and consumers.

To better understand just what the economic impact of immigrants in Iowa are, the NAE Research team analyzed data from the 2017 American Community Survey and found that:

  • While immigrants made up 5 percent of Iowa’s population, they represent 6.8 percent of all working-age people. More than 85.9 percent were working-age (16-64), compared to just 61.5 percent of the U.S. born.
  • Immigrants in Iowa paid $390 million in state and local taxes.
  • Immigrants held $3.4 billion a year in spending power that could be injected back into the local economy.

In recognition of this, the Iowa Compact on Immigration supports federal immigration reforms as well as statewide policies that recognize the valuable contributions immigrants make in Iowa. The Compact also supports reforms that ensure the U.S. federal system meets the needs of Iowan employers and the labor market; provides a permanent solution for undocumented Iowans who make significant contributions to our state’s economy; and secures America’s southern border while enforcing the country’s immigration laws.

To learn more about the economic contributions of new Americans to the Iowa economy, check out more of NAE’s research on Iowa here. More details on the Iowa Compact on Immigration can be found here.

About Us

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…