Immigration Plan Would Give Green Cards to STEM Grad Students

March 19, 2010

A bipartisan immigration reform plan would give a boost to efforts by American universities to recruit the top science and graduate graduate students from around the world. The plan -- unveiled in an op-ed in The Washington Post by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, a South Carolina Republican -- would give a green card to those from outside the United States who receive a doctoral or master's degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. "It makes no sense to educate the world's future inventors and entrepreneurs and then force them to leave when they are able to contribute to our economy," wrote the two senators. Countries that compete with the United States for top graduate students generally make it much easier for them to stay after they finish their educations than does the U.S., and that difference has become a key differentiator. While the plan is far from a sure thing and anti-immigration politicians have had success in killing off reform efforts in the past, the involvement of a leading Republican in the plan gave some hope that this one might receive more consideration.

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