Federation for American Immigration Reform

"Exploding Population"
30 sec. TV spot run in Iowa starting Jan. 3, 2000. 

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[Chamber Music] Male Announcer: Welcome to Storm Lake, Iowa, where the meat packing industry replaced native Iowans with thousands of foreign workers and cut wages to half what they used to be. 

Where Medicaid costs rose 63% and four out of ten schoolkids don't speak English. 

Where jail costs have risen 62% and where quality of life is but a memory. 

Ask the candidates if they think one million immigrants a year are too many.


Imagery: A series of black and white still photos.

Background: This ad provoked considerable controversy and several stations refused to run it.  A spokesman for FAIR noted that, "While the ad itself was criticized, our assertions never were."  The spot was part of a television, radio and print campaign run by a coalition of five organizations: the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR); Numbers USA; Negative Population Growth (NPG); Population Environment Balance (PEB); and Americans for Immigration Control (AIC), each of which produced and placed its own ads. The objective of the campaign was "to get candidates for national office to discuss one of the most important public policy issues facing the United States."

Here are the sources of the assertions in the FAIR ad.

  • Native Iowans have been systematically replaced by foreign workers in an industry where they once made up the vast majority of the workforce.  (Anyway You Cut It: Meatprocessing and small-town America, Donald D. Stull, et al., University Press of Kansas, 1995 Pages 109-127).

  • Wages in the meatpacking industry are half what they used to be.  Medicaid costs have increased by 62% in just six years.  (Anyway You Cut It: Meatprocessing and small-town America, Donald D. Stull, et al., University Press of Kansas, 1995 Pages 109-127).

  • Medicaid costs have increased by 63% in just 6 years.  (Omaha World-Herald, Sept. 20, 1999).

  • Four in Ten Children in Storm Lake public schools have limited English fluency.  (Bill Krupe, Storm Lake School District Superintendent, Dec. 16, 1999)

  • Jail costs have risen by 62% in just four years.  (Buena Vista County Budget, Adult Incarceration Costs, 1995-1999).

  • More than one million immigrants, both legal and illegal, enter the United States every year.  (Census Bureau estimates--middle range: Legal immigration 815,000 per year and illegal immigration 225,000 per year).
FAIR chose to run its ad campaign in Iowa because it wanted to draw attention to the situation of mass immigration in the Midwest. FAIR settled on Storm Lake because it is one of the more well-documented cases; before the ad went up a FAIR staffer visited Storm Lake and talked to people to make sure it presented a fair picture. 

Local officials reacted strongly to the campaign.

  • In a letter dated Jan. 6 Gov. Tom Vilsack and Lt. Gov. Sally J. Pederson wrote, "We deplore this propaganda campaign, and doubt that it will have much success."

  • Storm Lake Mayor Jon F. Kruse, in a prepared statement focused on the assertion that "quality of life is but a memory," and demanded "a public apology to our community from the inconsiderate, uninformed, out-of-state political special interest group..."

  • The Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce weighed in with a letter stating that, "...The quality of life here has never been better."  Among other advances, the Chamber cited "21 new business ribbon cuttings in 1999."