Iowa business leaders including the Greater Des Moines Partnership today pushed for “smart immigration policies” that would drive the economy.

The Iowa Compact on Immigration was endorsed by more than 40 signatories. The compact calls for common-sense policies with predictable, effective enforcement that considers the interests of business and consumers, and an improved visa system, for example. 

“It is time to modernize our outdated immigration system to make it truly responsive to today’s
economy,” Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, said in a statement. "The immigration reform principles outlined in the Compact would help Iowa meet its growing workforce needs and drive future economic growth across our state.”

Yena Balekyani, founder and executive director of Congo Girls United, said: “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. 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.”

Added John Feinblatt, president of New American Economy: “Employers in Iowa know that immigration is crucial to the future health of their businesses and their state’s greater economy. The Iowa Compact on Immigration presents a clear vision both of why immigration is important and how broad the support is for reform.”