Beyond whatever influence it has as the state whose caucuses kick off the presidential nominating contest, Iowa has become something of a laboratory for the politics of immigration. Not only is it a place where industries like meatpacking rely heavily on immigrant workers and where a once relatively homogenous population is confronting an influx of Hispanic residents, but the presidential candidates who are criss-crossing the state are also providing forums for Iowans to express their views and influence national policy.
On Saturday morning in Des Moines, Brownback stood for 30 minutes at a breakfast with Republicans as question after question â€” without exception â€” was directed at an immigration system that Iowans denounced as failing. â€?These people are stealing from us,â€? said Larry Smith, a factory owner from Truro and a member of the central committee of the state Republican Party.
Finally, Brownback, with a slight smile, inquired, â€?Any other topics that people want to talk about?â€?[McCain and Brownback Discover Immigration is Big Issue For Iowans By Adam Nagourney , New York Times, March 20, 2007