WASHINGTON -- President Obama called for bipartisan support of comprehensive immigration reform here Thursday in an address at American University, but the speech itself included only brief mentions of where he stands on the immigration issues that dominate higher education's agenda -- and none of the positions he took were new. Among the elements of a wide-reaching reform, Obama said he would hope to see the adoption of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which would help students stay in the United States even if they entered illegally as children. "We should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents by denying them the chance to stay here and earn an education," he said. "The DREAM Act would do this, and that’s why I supported this bill as a state legislator and as a U.S. senator — and why I continue to support it as president."
The president also voiced support for providing visas for foreign students to stay in the country after completing their degrees at U.S. colleges and universities. "While we provide students from around the world visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities, our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or power a new industry right here in the United States," he said. "Instead of training entrepreneurs to create jobs on our shores, we train our competition."