CINCINNATI, OHIO – A group of influential business executives from Southwest Ohio met with Congressman Steve Chabot, (OH-01) earlier today to discuss the issues they are facing when it comes to America’s dysfunctional immigration system. The leaders, who come from industries including aerospace engineering, high-performance manufacturing, and nursery & gardening, received an update about efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives and shared their personal stories.
“I was very eager to share my story with Congressman Chabot,” said Grant Schaffner, a UC professor and President of Protostar Engineering. “I’m a South African immigrant who served in the U.S. military and most recently I was able to design the bronze medal Men’s skeleton for the U.S. Olympic Team at the Sochi games. I love this country and want it to continue to be the best in the world, but I told Congressman Chabot that while we’re educating some of the finest minds in the world in our universities, we’re too often unable to retain them because of our broken immigration laws.”
The meeting was organized by the Partnership for a New American Economy as part of a broader push throughout the country during the Congressional Easter Recess.
“It was really nice to sit down and chat about immigration reform with Congressman Chabot,” Dennis Hjort, CEO of ICETech America Inc. “My family and I came here from Denmark in 2006 to setup North American Operations for a high-performance manufacturer here in the Cincinnati area. My company has helped grow ten jobs here in the region (all Americans with the exception of myself.) Despite helping to grow jobs here in the U.S., it looks as if my family and I will have to return to Denmark due to the U.S.’s arcane and badly outmoded immigration system. My company is quite frustrated with the situation and is considering moving operations on this continent to Canada, where there’s a more workable system for job-creating immigrants.”
At the end of January, House Republican leadership released standards for immigration reform, which included: border security and enforcements, entry-exit visa tracking, employer verification & workplace enforcement, reforms to the legal immigration system, the legal status of children brought to the U.S. by their parents.
“My grandfather, a German immigrant and horticulture student started our family company in 1916,” said Ken Natorp, Chairman of WA Natorp Co. “Today, Natorp’s is the largest grower in the region. We raise over 1 million plants in our nursery and garden centers. Unfortunately, we face severe shortage of workers seeking manual seasonal labor. The red tape and bureaucracy of the current immigration system is virtually impossible to navigate. It’s having a tremendous negative impact on our business and that’s why it was important for me to speak with Congressman Chabot.”