Washington, D.C. — Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement on the immigration reform bill introduced by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA).
“We welcome the proposal Senator Menendez and Representative Sanchez introduced today to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. An overhaul of the nation’s immigration policies is long overdue.
“Immigrants play a critical role in all facets of our society. We are an immeasurably better country because of immigrants, and it is to our advantage to open doors to allow their further contributions. On public university campuses, immigrants provide a global perspective in classrooms, provide students with world-class instruction, and undertake cutting-edge research in critical sectors. Our nation’s immigration policies should magnify these contributions.
“We’re particularly pleased the legislation provides relief for undocumented students and creates a pathway for citizenship. It is long past time for Congress to provide the needed legislative solution to end uncertainty for Dreamers in ways that reflect our values and enhance our economy.
“The proposal would also make the United States a more attractive destination for international students, including by allowing dual intent that eases the student visa process. Similarly, exempting STEM doctoral graduates from green card limits would promote U.S. competitiveness. At a time when the United States is competing for top global talent in frontier sectors such as clean energy, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology, we should remove green card limits for individuals with any advanced STEM degree, not just doctoral degrees. As the legislative process moves forward, it’s also critical to have a definition of STEM that fully encompasses fields such as biological, agricultural, and natural resource sciences. Taken together, these reforms would help lay the groundwork for a badly needed national strategy for attracting students from across the globe.
“We thank Senator Menendez and Representative Sanchez for their important work on this area and we look forward to working with lawmakers on desperately-needed immigration reform that reflects our nation’s values and strengthens contributions of immigrants to our country and college campuses.”