Broad Coalition Urges Congress to Pass Legislation to Retain STEM Graduates
WASHINGTON, D.C.—JULY 12, 2012— A Semiconductor Industry Association-led coalition of more than 130 technology, business and education leaders today called on Congress to promptly pass legislation to allow top graduate students born outside the United States to remain in the U.S. after graduation. In a letter sent to every member of the House of Representatives, the coalition urged Congress to establish a new green card program for outstanding students who earn graduate degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from qualified American universities.
“The U.S. is a world technology leader thanks largely to our stellar higher education system, which is second to none,” said Brian Toohey, president and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). “For too long, however, the United States has educated the best and brightest scientific minds from around the world, only to see many of them forced to return home after graduation. Congress should act now to reform this counterproductive immigration policy so that America’s high-tech industries can continue to drive our economy, create jobs and enhance U.S. competitiveness.”
The coalition applauded the work of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), other members of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) for their leadership in crafting legislation to reform the STEM visa system.
"IEEE-USA has been impressed by the bipartisan and bicameral efforts we have seen to pass a STEM visa bill this year,” said James M. Howard, president of IEEE-USA. “Inviting STEM graduate students from American universities to become permanent residents, and eventually citizens, of our country will create jobs, improve our global competitiveness and strengthen America's high-tech workforce. We are hopeful that this legislation is passed before the end of this Congress."
“Passage of STEM legislation would be a significant step in addressing a major problem with our current immigration system," said Randel Johnson, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Vice President for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits.
"Our immigration system has for too long discriminated against innovative people who are already contributing to U.S. economic growth,” said Robert Hoffman, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). “It's time for Congress to act on STEM visa and other legislation that will revitalize America's entrepreneurial spirit and realize her innovative potential."
The coalition’s full letter is available here.
(Please note that because of an error, both Qualcomm and Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) were left off the list of signatories.)
About the SIA
The Semiconductor Industry Association, SIA, is the voice of the U.S. semiconductor industry, one of America's top export industries and a bellwether measurement of the U.S. economy. Semiconductor innovations form the foundation for America's $1.1 trillion dollar technology industry affecting a U.S. workforce of nearly 6 million. Founded in 1977 by five microelectronics pioneers, SIA unites over 60 companies that account for 80 percent of the semiconductor production of this country. Through this coalition SIA seeks to strengthen U.S. leadership of semiconductor design and manufacturing by working with Congress, the Administration and other key industry groups. The SIA works to encourage policies and regulations that fuel innovation, propel business and drive international competition in order to maintain a thriving semiconductor industry in the United States. Learn more at www.sia-online.org