In an open letter to more than 1,200 university and college presidents across the country, the presidents of Cornell University, Arizona State University, and Miami Dade College are urging their fellow leaders in higher education to join them in pushing for smart immigration policies that will help attract and retain the world’s best and brightest.
Working with the Partnership for a New American Economy and the National Immigration Forum, David J. Skorton (Cornell), Michael M. Crow (Arizona State), and Eduardo J. Padrón (Miami Dade) announced that on April 19 they will host major events on their respective campuses to highlight the role of immigration in driving innovation and creating American jobs. They are encouraging others school presidents to follow suit. “By speaking with one coordinated voice,” they write, “we can best bring our message to the public and to our representatives in Washington, DC.”
In their letter, these three presidents stressed that America often trains the most talented foreign-born students in our top educational institutions, only to send them overseas to compete against us in the global marketplace because our immigration system does not provide an opportunity for them to stay. They also noted that many children who were brought here at a young age are prevented from attending college because of their undocumented status. These presidents have long been advocates for sensible immigration reform that helps bolster America’s economy.
Skorton, Crow, and Padrón also highlighted visa reform for students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields as one of the policies they’re strongly backing. Right now, the U.S. economy faces a severe shortage of STEM workers: By 2018, the U.S. will have an estimated 779,000 jobs that require advanced STEM degrees but only an estimated 555,200 advanced-degree STEM holders – a shortage of more than 220,000 workers.
“For years we’ve been training the best and brightest foreign-born students in our leading universities – only to have our antiquated immigration laws send them packing after graduation. I thank these college and university presidents for joining the growing list of higher education leaders who are urging Congress to fix our broken immigration system – and fix it this year,” said Partnership for a New American Economy Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
“Many of us have lost sight of the important contributions immigrants have made – and are making – to our culture and our economy. Their continued contributions are critical to our country’s success,” said Cornell University President David J. Skorton.
“As one of the largest U.S. public research universities, and one dedicated to meaningful global engagement, ASU is ‘home’ to students and alumni from more than 125 foreign countries. We have a critical responsibility as an education and discovery leader, economic driver, and workforce provider, to support change that allows this country to retain the brilliant minds we serve, thereby strengthening American competitiveness and quality of life,” said Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow.
“For millions of young people in our country, the opportunity to gain a college education depends on immigration reform. Given the chance, those students will be contributors to vital communities and an American workforce that leads through innovation,” said Miami Dade College President Eduardo J. Padrón.
“Too many of the students trained on our college campuses return to their country of origin because we do not offer them a chance to remain. Whether it is attaching a green card to a STEM degree or putting undocumented students on a road to citizenship, our immigration system must catch up with the times,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.