Immigration fix must focus on retaining STEM grads

One of the most vibrant and economically important cities in the world is more or less an accident. To be economically relevant, Georgia needed a railroad to connect the port city of Savannah with the markets in the Midwest. 

Topography put the terminus of that railroad line in what is today Atlanta. No one in the 1830s expected much of a town, much less the “world city” that Atlanta has become.

Yet, to keep Atlanta and all of Georgia economically relevant, we can learn a lesson from those leaders pushing a new railroad in the 1830s. We must chart a course to the future that focuses on tomorrow’s possibilities, not today’s status quo.

Fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics are projected to drive future economic growth and job creation. With world-class research institutions like the Georgia Institute of Technology, our state should be well positioned to benefit from this trend. 

Yet according to a study by the Partnership for a New American Economy, nearly half of the STEM graduates at our research institutions are foreign born and 60 percent of the engineering Ph.Ds. were temporary residents. 

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About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…