Cornell University President David J. Skorton, Press Connects
A growing number of Americans are coming around to an idea that the tech industry and other business groups have been promoting for quite a while: To fuel economic growth, especially in the tech sector, we need to make it easier for highly trained immigrants — many of them educated at American research universities — to work in America after earning their degrees.
The comprehensive immigration bill passed by the U.S. Senate on June 27 is a welcome development, and long overdue, but the fate of similar legislation in the House is highly uncertain. With September and October shaping up as make-or-break time for immigration reform in Congress, we need over the next few weeks to bring forward more vigorously than ever the sound economic and social arguments for broad immigration reform.
Change is unsettling, especially when it involves the security of the nation, but we have more to lose in terms of our long-term security if we fail to tap the worldwide pool of talent that can drive our high-tech growth. To put it bluntly, America’s leadership in high-tech fields is no longer a given. Other nations and their citizens have much to contribute to the world’s well-being as well as to innovation. With that in mind, truly comprehensive immigration reform should contain at least four elements.