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Allow International Grads to Remain in U.S., Brodhead Says
Durham, NC - Duke President Richard Brodhead and the heads of more than 75 other leading American research universities called Tuesday on the White House and Congress to work together to provide top international graduates with a clear path to a green card, enabling them to stay and create new jobs in the United States.
In a joint letter tied to a new research report from the Partnership for a New American Economy, the university leaders stressed the importance of foreign-born inventors in promoting innovation. The partnership, a bipartisan coalition of mayors and business leaders supporting immigration reform, said 76 percent of university-issued patents have a foreign-born inventor.
"Each year, bright, talented students from around the world come to Duke to pursue graduate degrees," Brodhead said. "Along with their academic training, they absorb an American approach to thinking, problem-solving and innovating, and they graduate with skills that can lead directly to new companies and jobs for our country. It's in our national interest to keep them here."
Noting that research universities carry out 53 percent of the basic research that often leads to innovations, Brodhead and the others call in their letter for national leaders to join together in keeping the door open for graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). They cite current immigration policies as posing "a critical threat to America's preeminence as a global center of innovation and prosperity."
The signatories represent 32 states and Washington, DC, a total of more than 2.3 million students and a combined endowment of $180 billion, according to the partnership.
In its report, the partnership calls on the United States to grant permanent residency to foreign students earning graduate degrees in STEM fields. It recommends a "startup visa" be created for foreign-born entrepreneurs who have American investors and want to start companies that employ U.S. workers. The report also calls for raising or removing current caps on the number of H-1B temporary visas awarded to highly skilled graduates.
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