Two Iowans were among more than six-hundred conservatives from the religious and business communities who went to Washington, D.C. Tuesday to lobby for immigration reform. Jon Troen– president of Rock Communications and Colorfx in Urbandale — was part of the effort organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“Now is the time to fix our broken immigration system,” he says.
Troen says his company, which has facilities in Newton and Waverly as well, is like many others — it needs highly skilled foreign workers and that’s one reason reform of the immigration system is necessary.
“If every American advanced degree STEM graduate — so everybody who’s going to school for a PhD in physics or a high-level program — once they all get jobs, by 2018 we will still have a shortfall of over 200,000 advanced degree jobs,” Troen says. “…That’s one part of the argument that folks can oftentimes miss out on, but it’s an important thing to consider.”
Troen has helped one employee with a visa navigate the current system.
“It was shocking how difficult and, in many ways, non-sensical the process is,” Troen says.
Troen is “hopeful” congress takes action on the issue.
“By nature I’m an optimist, so I’m hopeful that our leaders in Washington will prove us wrong and actually get something done,” Troen says. “…We’re talking about reducing our budget deficit by $1.2 trillion if they get this done, a 4.8 percent higher growth rate if they get this done. There’s huge benefits to getting this done across the board for our country.”
Mark White — a West Des Moines businessman — also made the trip to D.C. Tuesday to lobby for immigration reform.