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DES MOINES - Republican business, industrial and agricultural sectors have formed the Iowa Alliance for Growth to foster a discussion with presidential candidates about reforming the immigration system,
The alliance wants to use Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus status as a platform to discuss immigration policy with presidential candidates.
'Immigration is a critical issue here in Iowa,” said Jon Troen, president of Mittera Group in Des Moines. Border security, an issue most GOP presidential hopefuls prioritize, is a 'critical component of any responsible plan to fix the immigration issue,” but only one part of an overall solution.
'Our ultimate goal is to encourage GOP presidential candidates to present a thoughtful and detailed solution to fix our broken immigration laws,” Troen said.
Given that Iowa has a shortage of workers in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, and nearly 42 percent of students earning master's degrees and Ph.D.s in STEM fields from Iowa's universities are foreign-born, it's important for presidential candidates to discuss the impact of immigration policy on the nation, businesses and workforce, said Ron Langston, a former Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administration official.
'Candidates seeking their party's nomination should address issues important to Iowans, said Des Moines business leader Ben Jung, steering committee member, 'and immigration reform is one of those issues.”
Iowa Alliance for Growth is urging these presidential candidates to identify thorough solutions that specifically address three areas: establishing a secure border, supporting H-1B visas and guest-worker programs for high-skilled and high-demand occupations, and creating the framework for the 11.5 million immigrants currently living in the U.S. illegally to come out of the shadows and get right with the law.