Washington, D.C. — Today, Business Forward Foundation issued a report, Iowa is Not Full, highlighting the cost of President Trump’s immigration policies on Iowa’s economy.

“President Trump argues that America is full – that we can’t handle any more immigrants,” said Jim Doyle, president of Business Forward Foundation. “Iowa’s real problem is declining birth rates, a shrinking workforce, and small towns that are losing young workers to big cities.”

Iowa is already old. Without a steady flow of new immigrants, Iowa’s economy could fall into a reinforcing cycle of job losses, lower investment, and falling property values. Over time, an aging, shrinking population hurts schools, pensions, infrastructure, and economic opportunity.

“To appreciate just how dangerous Trump’s ‘we’re full’ approach could be, we should compare its impact to immigration reform proposals that national business groups have offered,” explained Doyle. “A balanced approach to immigration proposed by the Business Roundtable would grow Iowa’s economy by $5.1 billion over ten years, while ‘restrictive’ policies could cost Iowa $4 billion over that same period. That’s a swing of $9.1 billion.”

The report’s key facts include:

  • By 2030, one out of every five Iowans will be older than 65.
  • Iowa currently ranks 46th in the nation in business dynamism, a measure that reflects the rate of new business formation and frequency of labor market turnover.
  • Immigrants contribute a net $296 million to Iowa’s economy through tax and income contributions less the cost of public services.
  • Iowa ranks 44th in the country in doctors per capita. Immigrants, who represent 5% of the state’s population but 23% of its physicians, can help close the health care labor gap.
  • Immigrant-owned firms in Iowa directly employ over 24,000 workers.
  • A balanced approach to immigration would create 56,000 new jobs in Iowa, while restrictive policies could cost the state 47,000 jobs – a difference of 103,000 jobs.



The Business Forward Foundation is an independent research and education organization that takes a business-minded look at policy issues affecting America’s economic competitiveness. Our work combines insights and advice from business leaders across the country with rigorous policy analysis. Through white papers, issue briefs, conference calls, and other events, we educate policy makers and the public about climate change, immigration reform, infrastructure investment, the future of work, and other critical issues.