Thursday, December 06, 2007

In a rural Iowa town with few immigrants, immigration's a big issue; statewide, too

"Strangers are rare" in Iowa Falls, population 5,000, 97 percent of it white, reports Louise Roug of the Los Angeles Times. But to many in the town, and the state as a whole, "Illegal immigration is the top issue in the presidential primary race. To them, it's about fairness and jobs."

Among Iowans who told a Des Moines Register pollster that they were likely to attend one of the nation's first presidential caucuses on Jan. 3, 81 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats consider immigration a key issue," Roug reports. "The issue also has come to dominate the national campaign discussion" in the past week or so.

"Many of the candidates have linked immigration to domestic security," Roug writes. "But in Iowa Falls, where most of the jobs are in construction and residents are older and poorer than the state average, the issue is located squarely in the pocketbook." (Read more)

1 comment:

Benno Groeneveld, St. Paul, MN said...

In the southern Iowa town of Brooklyn (60 miles west of Des Moines) and elsewhere in Iowa there is another immigration development: European (mostly Dutch) dairy farmers who sell their belongings (and their milk quota) in the Old Country, take the money and set up farm in the New World.

These immigrants bring skills and money, and the state rewards them with an easy path to the status of legal immigrants (holders of a 'green card'). The qualification process takes about a year.

Once a legal immigrant has held the 'green card' for five years, he or she can become a U.S. citizen.

Wisconsin and South Dakota either have (South Dakota) or are looking into (Wisconsin) a similar setup, reasoning that some immigrants can and do help the local community. Minnesota is the odd state out in this, dairy farmers there are so scared of all kinds of immigration and big farms (you need to milk at least 300 cows in Iowa to qualify for the immigration program) that they'd rather have the cheese factory close because of lack of milk, than allow "those foreigners" to buy old, abandoned or bankrupt farms and bring new life to the dairy business.