If any Republican veers from the conservative stance on immigration, it will be seemingly toxic for his or her chances at being elected. But New York cannot afford a polarized populace. New York needs immigration reform.
Though New York educates some of the brightest foreigners, most are temporary residents. According to the Partnership for a New American Economy, in 2009, 53.4 percent of STEM graduates at research-focused universities were foreign-born, and “almost 70 percent of the students earning engineering Ph.D.s in the state in recent years were also noncitizens.” So, we recognize the value in educating these talented, smart individuals, but once they’ve learned from us, we send them on their way to bring their expertise to other countries. That doesn’t seem logical.
As evidenced by fiscal year 2014’s short five-day filing period of H-1B visas administered to those with a higher degree, there clearly is a desire and need for foreign workers. Meanwhile, other countries, such as Canada and Australia, are actively soliciting and attracting highly skilled immigrants, allowing them to build centers of excellence.
For New York, Regional Economic Model Inc. (REMI) estimates an expansion in the number of H-1B visas supplied would offer more than $2.3 billion in gross state product and more than 21,600 jobs. By establishing a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens, about $2.8 billion and 29,000 jobs could be created, according to REMI.