University Presidents Push for Smart Immigration Reform to Attract and Retain the World's Leading Minds

By - MAR. 06, 2013

In an open
to more than 1,200 university and college presidents across the
country, the presidents of Cornell University, Arizona State University, and
Miami Dade College are urging their fellow leaders in higher education to join
them in pushing for smart immigration policies that will help attract and
retain the world's best and brightest.

Working with the Partnership for a
New American Economy and the National Immigration Forum, David J. Skorton
(Cornell), Michael M. Crow (Arizona State), and Eduardo J. Padrón (Miami Dade)
announced that on April 19 they will host major events on their respective campuses
to highlight the role of immigration in driving innovation and creating
American jobs. They are encouraging others school presidents to follow suit.
"By speaking with one coordinated voice," they write, "we can best bring our
message to the public and to our representatives in Washington, DC."

In their letter, these three
presidents stressed that America often trains the most talented foreign-born
students in our top educational institutions, only to send them overseas to
compete against us in the global marketplace because our immigration system
does not provide an opportunity for them to stay. They also noted that many
children who were brought here at a young age are prevented from attending
college because of their undocumented status. These presidents have long been
advocates for sensible immigration reform that helps bolster America's economy.

Skorton, Crow, and Padrón also highlighted
visa reform for students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
fields as one of the policies they're strongly backing. Right now, the U.S.
economy faces a severe shortage of STEM workers: By 2018, the U.S. will have an
estimated 779,000 jobs that require advanced STEM degrees but only an estimated
555,200 advanced-degree STEM holders - a shortage of more than 220,000 workers.

years we've been training the best and brightest foreign-born students in our
leading universities - only to have our antiquated immigration laws send them
packing after graduation. I thank these college and university presidents for
joining the growing list of higher education leaders who are urging Congress to
fix our broken immigration system - and fix it this year," said Partnership for a New American Economy Co-Chair and New York City
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

 "Many of us have lost sight of
the important contributions immigrants have made - and are making - to our
culture and our economy. Their continued contributions are critical to our
country's success," said Cornell
University President David J. Skorton

"As one of the largest U.S. public research universities,
and one dedicated to meaningful global engagement, ASU is ‘home' to students
and alumni from more than 125 foreign countries. We have a critical
responsibility as an education and discovery leader, economic driver, and
workforce provider, to support change that allows this country to retain the
brilliant minds we serve, thereby strengthening American competitiveness and
quality of life," said Arizona State
University President Michael M. Crow

"For millions of young people in our country, the
opportunity to gain a college education depends on immigration reform. Given
the chance, those students will be contributors to vital communities and an
American workforce that leads through innovation," said Miami Dade College President Eduardo J. Padrón.

"Too many of the students trained on our college campuses
return to their country of origin because we do not offer them a chance to
remain. Whether it is attaching a green card to a STEM degree or putting
undocumented students on a road to citizenship, our immigration system must
catch up with the times," said Ali
Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum

The Partnership's research shows that:

About the Partnership for a New
American Economy

The Partnership for a New American
Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic, and Independent
mayors and business leaders who support sensible immigration reforms that will
help create jobs for Americans today. The Partnership's members include mayors
of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies
that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people
across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality
to High Tech, and Media to Manufacturing. Partnership members understand that
immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse, and flexible
workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations.
Learn more at
or visit the Partnership's campaign site for the largest-ever virtual march on
Washington to support sensible immigration reform at