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Business leaders seek federal fixes to immigration issues

February 25, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A group of 40 Iowa business leaders say they will work together to resolve federal immigration problems they say hurt worker recruitment efforts.

The Iowa Compact on Immigration includes several chambers of commerce and development group leaders, including those from Ames, Burlington, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City and Muscatine.

Greater Des Moines Partnership CEO Jay Byers on Monday noted immigration is a federal issue and argued states shouldn’t offer their own piecemeal solutions.

Iowa lawmakers are considering several proposals, including requiring that businesses use the federal E-Verify system to identify workers eligible for U.S. jobs. It’s often criticized as inaccurate.

One of the group’s priorities is to create a system that accurately and reliably determines who is permitted to work.

Byers says the message to Congress and the federal government is that temporary visa and agriculture guest worker programs don’t work and the U.S. lacks programs used by other countries to recruit workers and keep them.

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