Posted on December 6, 2006

Immigration Hot Spot (Cedar Falls), Dec. 5, 2006

Iowa is increasingly becoming a new destination for thousands of immigrants. A new study, researched and authored by a UNI professor, found that 77% of Iowa’s population growth between 2000 and 2004, came from Latinos moving to Iowa.

According to this report Iowa as well as several other midwestern states are seeing a rapid immigration growth, but without help from the federal government. A study written by Mark Grey, an anthropology professor at the University of Northern Iowa looks at how, in the absence of federal immigration policy, states such as Iowa address the challenges of dealing with documented and undocumented immigrants.

Grey says many immigrants are choosing to come to Iowa because they can find work in the meat packing industry. Esperanza Pintor knows that all to well, her father came to Iowa to work at a meat packing plant in Des Moines and the rest of her family joined him in 1993. Esperanza is now a junior at UNI and says she is one of few immigrants able to go to college because she has recieved a green card. Pintor says, “That was all they could look forward to in regards to education even though they were brilliant and smart and I would say they were even smarter than me and they couldn’t go because they were on a visa or they didn’t have documents.”


Latinos now comprise Iowa’s largest minority group, and, in many Iowa communities, non-white immigrants are taking over the job void, left by Iowa’s aging anglo population and younger Iowans leaving the state.