Iowa Business Leaders and Educators Oppose the End of DACA

Sep 5, 2017

Iowa business leaders and educators are expressing disappointment in the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA. They see it as a blow to economic growth.

(l-r) Kyle Munson, columnist for the Des Moines Register; Rob Denson, president of DMACC; Mary Bontrager, vice president of talent development at the Greater Des Moines Partnership; Suku Radia, CEO of Bankers Trust; and Kent Henning, president of Grand View University.
Credit Todd Bailey / Grand View University

During a panel discussion at Grand View University in Des Moines scheduled before the announcement, representatives from higher education and the business community spoke out against the move. They say ending a program meant to protect the so-called DREAMers who entered the country illegally as children will deplete the state’s workforce. The CEO of Bankers Trust, Suku Radia, says he takes it personally because he’s an immigrant who arrived at Iowa State in 1971 from Uganda.

“I finished college in 2 ½ years, I graduated at the top of my class, I wanted to be a CPA, there was a shortage of CPAs in this country, so I wasn’t taking jobs away,” he says.

The president of Des Moines Area Community College, Rob Denson, says ending protections for DREAMers will mean the loss of some talented workers.

“Here are the best and brightest young people who are now placed in limbo when we should have flipped it the other way and said how easily and quickly can we get them into a learning system so they can get a skill, get a good job,” Denson says.

The panel also included the president of Grand View, Kent Henning, and the vice president of talent development for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Mary Bontrager. It was moderated by Kyle Munson from the Des Moines Register and organized by New American Economy, a national group of business leaders who support immigration reform.