NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Immigration Issue in Iowa*

Immigration Issue in Iowa*

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Among the issues that are important to voters in Iowa this election, immigration is near the top of the list, along with the economy and the war. Immigration is a personal issue for many Iowans. Last December, the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted raids on six Swift meatpacking plants around the country, including one in Marshalltown, Iowa, where they arrested 99 workers who could not prove they were in the country legally. Today we'll talk to the mayor of Marshalltown, IA, a resident who helped families, and an official from the ICE about what happened during the raids, and how it affected the community at large. We want to hear from you. If you're in a place where there's been an immigration raid, what has the impact been where you live? And will the immigration issue influence your vote in this presidential election?

* Talk about alliteration!



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Illegal Immigrants come here because they can. Because it is worhth the risk becaus place like Mexico are unfair and brutal. In the case of Mexico it is a great relief valve for its elites. The USA is falling behind in automation because of desperate labor. Carlos Slim is a Billionaire in Mexico. He has made his money by not allowing Mexicans to be entrpreneurial. We are quick to blame the illegals, but cozy up to rich Mexicans.

Sent by Victor | 3:26 PM | 12-3-2007

Immigration is the "gay marriage" of 2008. It is just a way for the Right to try and motivate their base (bigotry always seems to work for) in a time when all of their other "issues" have craped out. None of them know Iraq anymore, nor do they remember their tax cuts that threw the budjet into the red. So now we are supposed to be terrified of the local busboys and maids.

These raids do very little to stop the flow of immigrants but they do allow the government a good photo op for their base.

We need a good, viable way to allow temporary workers to come here and help themselve while they help our economy. That probably will not work because, no matter what they claim, there is a good deal of anti-mexican sentiment behind the so called "secure our border" movement.

Sent by George from Oregon | 3:35 PM | 12-3-2007

Although it is important that people obey the laws regarding immigration, we also need to not forget the human aspect of all of this. People come here because in many cases it is very difficult to get work in Mexico, and worsse in Central America, especially if you have past the age of 25 and don't have a good education. I lived in Mexico and saw that when you are down and out your are really down and out. They don't have what we have here. The immigration issue is pitting humans against humans. When a Honduran working here illegally got bitten by a dog people favored the life of the dog over his life. What's up with that in our so called Christian nation.

Sent by Sandy Grant | 3:45 PM | 12-3-2007

The question of whether or not these immigrants are lovely people or love their families is not the question before us. They are illigal immigrants and so are breaking the laws of the country. Come to us in a legal manner - we will welcome you with open arms.

Sent by Janet Springer | 3:49 PM | 12-3-2007

If they are not here legally, then they need to be sent back. They knew the risks when they made the decision to come here. Stay home and change your local government. We sweat and toil, pay excessive taxes, and nothing bothers me more than to see an illegal taking advantage of my hard work and taxes.

Sent by Hubert Samm | 3:54 PM | 12-3-2007

We couldnt disagree more with George. This is about survivial. The survival of the poor and middle class who havent seen a real wage increase in years; have to pay higher prices for petrol, food, home heating oil, etc; who cant afford health coverage if they have it at all; who are paying a much higher amount in taxes so the rich can pay little or nothing; and the list continues. These are the same people who used to do alot of this temp work so that they can earn money for necessities; extras; to afford to go on holiday; etc. These same people could also be retrained to do alot of these jobs in construction; landscaping; etc that pay a very good wage with benefits so we wouldnt need all this illegal labour.

Victor is also right in that Mexico wont allow foreigners to own land or why would someone want to go there and build a business??? This country allows everyone to own just about anything except it seems our ports!!! Mexico also fails to do anything about all the drugs coming in from their country (to this country) or the violence on the border due to the drug trafficing which makes it hard for the people living there to earn a living, Mexico has earned billions from its oil revenues but what has it done to help its own people? Nothing as far as we can see.

Its not just Mexicans coming through our open borders either. Its the OTM (other then Mexicans) that are coming in more and more. Its the people who overstay their visas. Its the people who married US citizens who still havent been granted a green card but are working illegally (and probably cant be deported) . The list goes on. Why have laws when they arent going to be enforced??? When is ICE going to deal with all the people working in the underground economy??? But ICE can only do so much when the border is still wide open.

By the way; the mayor of Greeley CO lost his reelection bid due to being on NPR and the comments he made which was perceived and rightly so that he was soft on enforcing the law. (Swift raids)

Sent by jm | 4:12 PM | 12-3-2007

It is obvious to me the real reason this does not get solved or even voted on is that the 12 million illegals are supporting the Social Security system. They work, they pay, they cannot draw out, great system.

Sent by Paul N. Davis | 4:22 PM | 12-3-2007

Ironically the Mexican families and workers that are being targeted by I.C.E. and the Christian Right Voters of Iowa are exactly the people that America needs to attract in order to re-vitalize and inject new life into the down-sized and aging ranks of Middle America.

Sent by charles from Sacramento | 4:47 PM | 12-3-2007

An illegal is an illegal whether from Mexico, China or Poland. People who use illegals do so out of greed--pure and simple. Just another slap in the face for the middle class. It's corporate

Sent by markie | 7:27 PM | 12-3-2007

My vote will be decided by this issue. Whoever is the strongest on border security and offers the most effect plan for reducing the number of people here illegally (both border hoppers and visa overstays) will get my support. We can't effectively address healthcare, education, transportation, or anything else until this is resolved.

Sent by aj in AZ | 12:00 AM | 12-5-2007

Wew! Great comments. I'd like to mention that our population growth rate is very high. Consider the USA is the 3rd most populous nation, after China and India. Project current rates of growth, the US will have 1 billion residents before the end of the century. The need to stabilize population growth needs to be discussed and debated.
A second point- it's silly to wait for Mexico (or any other nation) to get it's act together be we move on this issue. We need move now, and not wait for Mexico to achieve Utopia.

Sent by clontarf | 2:40 PM | 12-5-2007

Did illegal immigrants break the law to get here? Yes. Do all law breakers in this country face such a harsh punishment as being sent to a place where they have no opportunities and are thus doomed to a life of poverty? Of course not. Can't we find some compromise?

Sent by N.S. from Michigan | 1:11 PM | 12-9-2007

I will not vote for anyone who support illegal immigration. It is the most important issue to me and my family.

"If we do not enforce our law, we are a lawless nation."

Sent by hallie | 5:32 PM | 5-12-2008

There are other countries where people are hurting far more than Mexico and we cannot let every one who is living below the poverty level into this country.
We are not longer into nation building, but nation survival.
There are a legal process to enter this country and only those who are admitted legally have a right to be here. otherwise arrest and deport.

Sent by hallie | 5:36 PM | 5-12-2008