Governor Tom Vilsack’s backing away from the idea of actively recruiting immigrants to live in the “Model Communities” of Fort Dodge, Mason City and Marshalltown. Making Iowa an immigration destination was first discussed two years ago by the Governor’s Strategic Planning Committee. Later, the three cities were tabbed as places where state services would be enhanced to deal with new immigrants. Now, Vilsack says those three cities are primarily fostering discussion about how to best welcome immigrants to Iowa.Vilsack says there’s a faulty perception that the state is using economic development grants and loans to create low-paying jobs.As evidence, he says this past year’s “community economic betterment awards” went to companies that paid about 18-dollars an hour.Anti-immigrant groups, some from outside the state, have been rallying in the three cities to protest the idea of having the state actively involved in attracting foreigners to live in Iowa.
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