National campaign urges Congress to act on 'dreamers'

A national campaign urging congressional movement on "dreamers" will begin Wednesday, with an emphasis on highlighting the beneficial financial impact to each state.

In Iowa, the immigrant population paid $891.6 million in taxes in 2014.   File photo

A national campaign urging congressional movement on "dreamers"  will begin Wednesday, with an emphasis on highlighting the beneficial financial impact to each state.

Dreamers is the name used for those immigrants brought to the United States as children but who remain  undocumented, or illegal. In 2012, then-President Barack Obama introduced the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA), a policy that stopped any move to deport an estimated 800,000 individuals and allowed them to apply for work permits.

President Donald Trump's administration rescinded that policy, but gave Congress six months to draw up and pass legislation making them resident legally.

New American Economy (NAE) and dozens of national partner organizations will host iMarch for Immigration, a  50-state campaign to showcase America’s broken immigration system and call for a solution for dreamers this year, according to a press release issued by the group.

As part of the iMarch for Immigration Campaign, NAE will release an interactive map of immigration stories from all 435 congressional districts that can be shared directly with legislators on imarch.us.

“There’s a growing chorus with a simple message for Congress – step up and fix our broken immigration system, starting with a fix for Dreamers,” NAE President John Feinblatt told Iowa Business Daily. “Today, in D.C. and across the country, you’ll hear from leaders of every political stripe who agree it’s not only the right thing, but also the economically smart thing for America to do.”

NAE is a business-led organization launched in 2013 by the former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp., the mass media company that owns Fox.

More than 500 Republican, Democratic and independent mayors and business leaders have signed up in support of the organization's aims, it said.

Detractors argue the organization is a well-funded front to help businesses in the U.S. to tap cheaper labor. This view is voiced by, among others, the Breitbart News site, which is run by Trump's former chief of staff, Stephen Bannon.

In Iowa, the immigrant population paid $891.6 million in taxes in 2014, and held $2.9 billion in spending power that same year, according to a study by the NAE. There are 161,688 immigrants in the state. Over 25,399 people are employed at immigrant-owned firms in the state.

The NAE said its coalition members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion in revenue annually. These companies employ more than four million people across all sectors of the economy, from agriculture to aerospace, hospitality, high tech industrustries, media and manufacturing.

Congress is contemplating some solution to the status of DACA-eligible recipients, who, the NAE argues, contribute billions of dollars nationally. As part of the campaign, NAE is releasing new data on immigrants in Iowa's economy and the effect of the DACA-eligible population specifically.

The organization will also release an interactive map of immigration stories from all 435 congressional districts that can be shared directly with legislators on imarch.us.

In Iowa, a panel discussion will take place Thursday at the Greater Des Moines Partnership in Locust Street. The panelists will be the partnership's Mary Bongrager; Polk County Supervisor Bob Brownell; and Bob Riley, CEO of the Riley Resource Group, an agri-business collective.

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