Iowa Voters Support Path to Legal Status

Immigration Reform IssuesAs a first-tier state in terms of presidential election politics, candidates are ramping up their campaigns to meet the expectations of Iowa voters. And while the Midwestern state is not at the top of most lists in terms of its association with immigration, Iowa voters have given the issue some thought.

In an opinion article published on, Linn County Supervisor Brent Olsen blatantly calls on candidates—specifically Republicans–  to address immigration in a serious and genuine way. This is essential for any serious contender for the nomination, he writes in the editorial that ran on July 18, While some candidates are willing to “pander to the small but vocal crowd of voters” who favor an “electrified ‘great wall’ on the southern border,” this approach leads to nowhere.

According to a Partnership for a New American Economy and Burning Glass Consulting poll, only 17 percent of Iowa GOP voters favor mass deportations. What Iowa Republicans are looking for on the immigration issue are those candidates who offer “more though-fueled, realistic and compassionate” solutions.

“Over 81 percent of Iowa Republican caucus voters said they would support a candidate with a multi-step plan for moving undocumented immigrants to some form of legal status,” Olsen writes. “That should be enough to throw cold water on the efforts of the anti-immigration extremists.”

Olsen’s urging of GOP candidates to offer solid solutions around immigration– instead of platitudes aimed at the most extreme voters within the party—centers on the practical. Critical groups in the 2016 election, he says, are voters under the age of 35 and college-educated white women.

“These key electoral groups show no patience for anti-immigration extremism,” the editorial says.

Rhetoric between now and the day of the caucus, currently scheduled for Feb. 1, 2016, will tell us if candidates heeded Olsen’s advice.