Charles Grassley

Republican U.S. Senator from Iowa

As the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate (since 1981) and a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration, Charles Grassley is a powerful voice on matters of immigration policy.

A former metal shearer and assembly-line worker from the agricultural state of Iowa, Grassley’s positions on immigration have long been shaped by the impact migrant workers have on the American workforce. According to his own website,“Grassley has worked hard to root out fraud and mismanagement of visa programs that don’t work or [that] harm the American worker.”

In the Trump era, Grassley was a point-man for the Trump administration in the Senate. In February 2018, he introduced the Secure and Succeed Act, which would have provided the president with $25 billion for border security, including construction of barriers, in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA enrollees, provided they either serve in the military or obtain a college or vocational degree and maintain employment. Grassley said this represented “a major concession for many Republicans, including me, but this concession is necessary to provide a permanent and fair solution to this issue.”

Without equivalent concessions from Democrats, Grassley has dismissed any chance of cooperating on comprehensive immigration reform. When President Biden released the first details of his proposed immigration reform bill, Grassley said, “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter.”

Beyond his work on guest-worker visas and DACA, Grassley was a strong supporter of the controversial enforcement and removal operations conducted by ICE under the Trump administration and has advocated for an increase in the size of the agency, including “increasing agents in states like Iowa.”


Grassley’S IDEAS

  • Border Security

    Grassley supports increased funding for more border security, including “more fencing, technology, and Border Patrol agents.” He has introduced or co-sponsored several pieces of legislation that work toward these goals.

  • Border Wall

    Grassley supports construction of more fencing but criticized former President Trump for using an emergency declaration to get funding, arguing that “it’s a bad precedent. And it contravenes the power of the purse that comes from the elected representatives of the people.”

  • Detention

    Grassley supports keeping families together as they go through the asylum process. Has also said that facilities where asylum seekers are detained should be “safe and secure, provide suitable access to basic needs and services such as food, water and medical care.” He launched bipartisan investigations to correct alleged problems and improve safety in immigrant housing.

  • Immigration Courts

    Grassley supports the Secure and Protect Act, which provides funding for 500 additional immigration judges to speed up processing and address the backlog of cases.

  • Undocumented Population

    Grassley does not support a pathway to citizenship. He says that undocumented immigrants need to “earn any potential adjustment to legal status.” The senator supports a largely merit-based immigration system that limits family-based immigration to “nuclear families,” meaning spouses and children of the primary immigrant.

  • ICE

    Grassley supports increased funding for more “interior enforcement measures.” He has stated that he wants more ICE officers in his home state of Iowa.

  • DACA

    Grassley supports a pathway to citizenship for some DACA-eligible individuals but only in exchange for enhanced border security and interior enforcement policies, increased border security funding and only if those individuals do not have a criminal record and agree to either military service or higher education and steady employment. He also does not believe the parents of these individuals should be able to obtain citizenship.

  • Asylum

    The senator believes that the current system encourages fraudulent claims of asylum. He supported the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) of DHS requiring migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico.

  • Central America Policy

    No statement found.

  • Visas

    The senator supports the required use of the E-Verify Program by all employers to determine an employee’s immigration and work-eligibility status. He supports improving existing visa programs “so industries and areas where help is needed can get workers to come to the United States.”

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