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Florida College Presidents To Congress: Pass Immigration Reform

Posted: September 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Employer & Student Visas, Immigration Reform | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

This article is reposted from Miami radio station WLRN’s website.

Florida college and university presidents are calling on Congress to pass immigration reform this year, saying it would be better for the state’s economy if foreign students could stay after graduation, instead of being forced to take their diplomas and leave.

The “brain drain” of U.S.-educated foreign students is worrying economic and education leaders who say the students soon become competitors.

Credit Florida Immigrant Coalition

 

In a conference call with reporters Monday, University of Miami President Donna Shalala said a high percentage of non-citizens earn degrees in the high-paying STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and then depart.

“Half of all of Ph.D. and masters students in the STEM fields in our research universities are students who come from other countries,” Shalala said. “Many of them would like to stay, and we need immigration reform to give them that opportunity and to capture the talent that we’re educating.”

In a Sept. 16 letter to Florida’s Congressional delegation, Shalala and the other presidents wrote that in 2009, 53 percent of students earning masters or doctoral degrees in STEM fields from Florida’s research-intensive universities were non-citizens. More than 60 percent of students earning recent doctorates in engineering were non-citizens.

“As soon as we hand them their diploma, we also basically are handing them an airline ticket and saying, ‘Thanks very much for coming here – go home,'” said Ed Moore, president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida.

What’s worse, he said, is that those students usually end up working for Florida’s competitors in the global economy.

“Say they’re from China. They may end up being hired by a company in Brazil or a company in Italy or a company in England,” Moore said. “They go there and work to compete against American industry on the global market. It makes absolutely no sense.”

The Democratic-led U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill in June. It includes a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants, a temporary worker program and more visas for skilled non-citizens. But the measure is stalled in the Republican-led House of Representatives.

Conservative opposition is fierce. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has played a leading role in the debate, was booed at the Americans for Prosperity conference in Orlando last month, taking the stage to shouts of “No amnesty!” – a reference to allowing illegal immigrants to become U.S citizens.

But Anthony Catanese, president of the Florida Institute of Technology, said he doesn’t see the issue as a political one.

“Getting these young people to the highest level of American technological education and then making them return – I think we should see that as a non-controversial reason for getting the STEM graduates, especially at the graduate level, to have an opportunity to work for the United States and put them on a path toward citizenship,” Catanese said.

In their letter to Florida’s U.S. House members, the presidents noted that a recent study by the Partnership for a New American Economy and the American Enterprise Institute found that for every 100 foreign-born graduates of a U.S. graduate program who stay in the country, working in a STEM field, 262 jobs are created for American workers.

“Immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business, and immigrant-owned businesses in Florida generate about $13.3 billion in income for the state each year,” they wrote. “But in Florida our share of foreign-born STEM advanced degree holders working in STEM fields decreased by 17 percent between 2000 and 2010.”

Moore said that many House members have said they have too many other issues on their plates to deal with immigration reform.

“That’s nonsense,” he said. “I know they’re busy in Syria and all these other issues, but immigration should stay on the front burner of Congressional action this year.”


Immigration Lawyers Attend Town Hall Meeting with Congressman Vern Buchanan; Learn House’s Perspective on Immigration Reform

Posted: July 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, National News, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

On Saturday, July 20th, Congressman Vern Buchanan held a town hall meeting in Lakewood Ranch.  Jaensch Immigration Law Firm marketing coordinator, Michael Marquet, attended on behalf of the firm and several thousand of eligible local residents in order to ascertain the House of Representatives’ position on Immigration Reform.

Congressman Vern Buchanan speaks with constituents about Immigration Reform

Congressman Vern Buchanan speaks with constituents about Immigration Reform

After discussing the debt and deficit, issues most closely related to the Congressman’s work on the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Buchanan opened the floor to questions.  Several people spoke about the immigration reform bill the Senate passed earlier in July.  That bill, S.744, was co-drafted by Senator Marco Rubio, also of Florida.  Several attendees expressed their displeasure with S.744.

Congressman Buchanan hinted that the House might not take up the Senate’s version of immigration reform.  He spoke strongly against “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants and reiterated his dedication to security measures such as increasing border securitycreating a system for prosecuting visa overstays, and creating a mandatory, nation-wide e-verify system.

We at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm understand that there is reluctance towards creating a pathway to legalization and citizenship for people who entered the country without inspection or overstayed their visa.  At the same time, from our reading of the bill S.744, we believe there are several provisions that we think would undoubtedly benefit our economy while maintaining or strengthening our system of rule of law.  These provisions include the expansion of the number of H-1B Work Visas so corporations can recruit more of the world’s best talent to our shores, the creation of a Retiree Visa for immigrants over a certain age who invest in our economy through the purchase of a home, the Extension of Stay for Canadians who purchase property in the US, and the creation of a Start-up Visa for immigrants who have the idea and drive to start a business in the United States.

All these provisions are contained in S.744 along with a pathway to legalization and citizenship for undocumented immigrants.  At one point Mr. Marquet stood to address to Congressman to bring his attention to these economy-enhancing immigration reforms.  He urged the Congressman to consider the economic benefits of these reforms and asked the Congressman to speak clearly about whether the House would consider the Senate bill or break it up and vote on its provisions piecemeal.

Congressman Buchanan confirmed his view that the House was not going to take up the Senate Immigration Reform bill.  He mentioned a few of the immigration reform bills the House had already produced and said that more would probably appear after the August recess, in September and October.  

Congressman Vern Buchanan speaks with constituents about Immigration Reform

Congressman Vern Buchanan speaks with constituents about Immigration Reform

We hope that Mr. Buchanan will continue to consider the many ways that immigration reform could benefit our economy.  In Florida, from 2006-2010, there were 286,144 new immigrant business owners.  In 2010 these same business owners accounted for $13.3 billion in revenue, 23.8% of all business income in the state.  Immigrants invest, start businesses, and apply their expertise in our companies and corporations.  The legal entry of foreign persons who wish to pursue such activities should be encouraged.