While lawmakers debate provisions for their respective versions of immigration reform bills, support for changes are being made by university and college presidents. A group of leaders from Cornell University, Miami-Dade College, and Arizona State University sent a letter to college presidents across the country calling for them to support reform efforts that would bring foreign students to U.S. college campuses.
The letter focused on the importance of finding ways to attract students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, areas where the United States is ostensibly falling behind in comparison to other nations. They explained, "We train many of the brightest minds in the world, only to have students send abroad to compete against us [after they graduate] because our immigration laws do not provide a viable path for them to stay."
This concern is not held in a vacuum. Senate Republicans along with President Obama have suggested that foreign students who receive a master's degree or Ph.D in technology or engineering should be eligible to receive a green card as a reward for completing their respective programs. It is expected that this provision of the immigration reform bill will continue to gain support.
While there is some altruistic measure to supporting foreign students, the economic opportunities for colleges and universities cannot be ignored. If foreign students know that attending a particular school will lead to a green card, they are much more likely to pay to attend that school. Because of that, it is expected that immigration will continue to be a top lobbying issue for secondary schools.
Source: ABC News.com, Why colleges and universities care about immigration reform, March 6, 2013