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Iowa Leaders Invite Presidential Contenders To #UniteIowa Forum On Immigration

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For Immediate Release:
Contact: Kyle Munson; 515-284-8124
August 11, 2015

**#UniteIowa on Immigration Forum**

WHAT: Iowa Leaders Invite Presidential Contenders to #UniteIowa Forum on Immigration

WHEN: Saturday, August 29; doors open at 1:30pm CT; event starts at 2:30pm CT

WHERE: Harold Walter Siebens Forum at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. The event is free and open to the public.

Iowa Leaders Invite Presidential Contenders to #UniteIowa Forum on Immigration

Moderated by the Des Moines Register’s Kyle Munson, the event will feature presidential candidates and Iowa leaders for thoughtful non-partisan discussion on immigration policy in America.  


STORM LAKE, IOWA—On Saturday, August 29, at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, leaders from Iowa’s immigrant, business, educational, faith, labor and political communities on the front lines of immigration issues will convene with invited presidential contenders—in an effort to find constructive, common ground on a hotly debated issue.

The forum will be moderated by Kyle Munson, Iowa columnist at the Des Moines Register as part of his ongoing #UniteIowa campaign.  The event is non-partisan and will feature perspectives from both Democrats and Republicans.  Candidates from all presidential campaigns have been invited to participate.

“I launched #UniteIowa this year as a way to try to bring my fellow Iowans together to talk in person about issues that tend to divide us – and divide us bitterly,” Munson said. “As a columnist who roams the state I feel that it’s my job to advocate for Iowa as a whole, beyond any particular special interest.”

Buena Vista University Professor of Political Science Lisa Best is of the organizers of the forum.  She emphasized the importance of examining the immigration issues from all perspectives. “The #UniteIowa on Immigration forum is a unique opportunity for the 2016 presidential candidates to have a constructive and distinctly civil conversation with Iowans from across the political spectrum,” Best said.

Joe Enriquez Henry is the state director for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which is one of several sponsors for the forum.  Henry concurs with Best about the importance of keeping immigration at the fore of the political conversation.  “For too long, immigration has been discussed by some in the political arena using false information or incomplete data in order to garner votes,” said Henry. “Many Americans do not understand the history and complexity of immigration in our country.  We can provide some insight on the issue with this presidential forum.”

Storm Lake, a community recognized as the most racially and ethnically diverse in the state, is an appropriate setting for a national conversation on immigration.  The public school system boasts over 20 languages and is more than 80 percent non-white in its student body.  Much of the growth in Storm Lake’s population over the past two decades can be attributed to new immigrants.

Dr. Brad Best, BVU professor of political science and an American politics expert, notes that immigration issues are both complex and important in presidential races. “The immigration issue remains deeply compelling because it sits at the intersection of the personal and the global,” Best said. “Moreover, debate on the immigration issue draws Americans into conversation about how to align the law with unsettled, hotly contested definitions of human dignity.”

For Buena Vista University students, engaging in the presidential race is a unique educational opportunity. “An important part of BVU’s vision is to prepare globally engaged, ethical citizens who contribute to the economic, intellectual, and cultural development of our world.  Many of our students will be voting for the first time in a presidential election.  The #UniteIowa on Immigration forum offers our students the opportunity to serve their community by working with Mr. Munson and leaders from across the state to plan an event aimed at educating voters on an issue of local and national importance,” said Lisa Best.

The panel of Iowans featured on stage will include: Sam Clovis (politician, economics professor and radio host), Joe Crookham (CEO of Musco Lighting), Monica Reyes (Founder of DREAM Iowa) and Sandra Sanchez (Director of Iowa Immigrant Voice). More participants will be announced soon.

The use of Buena Vista University’s facilities for this event does not constitute an endorsement by Buena Vista University of any political candidate or any political viewpoint. All 2016 Presidential candidates have been invited to attend the #UniteIowa on Immigration forum and the views of those invited to speak are the views of the speaker and not of Buena Vista University.

To learn more about the nature of the forum, please visit: www.iowaimmigration.org