Senate immigration bill ‘a boost for US universities’

The US Senate has approved an immigration reform bill that could grant students and graduates who were brought into the country illegally as children the right to citizenship.

June 28, 2013

Senators passed the 1,200-page bill, drafted by four Democrats and four Republicans known as the “Gang of Eight”, with a 68-32 majority, with 14 of the Senate’s 46 Republicans joining the 52 Democrats in supporting the reforms.

If the proposals become law, 65,000 children of undocumented immigrants who graduate from US high schools each year would be eligible for a speedier path to citizenship, meaning they would potentially be able to receive cheaper “in-state” tuition at public higher education institutions.

The bill would also make foreigners who earned PhDs at US colleges eligible for permanent residency and, following a Senate amendment, ensure that universities remain exempt from a national cap on visas that allow institutions to temporarily employ researchers who are not US citizens.

However, the bill will still have to be approved in the House of Representatives, where it will face opposition from some Republicans who feel it offers a path to citizenship that rewards those who entered the US illegally.

Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, said the vote was a “major milestone” in the effort to “comprehensively fix a broken immigration system”.

He said that higher education in the US would benefit greatly from the provisions, which if passed will allow “a new generation of immigrants, international students, and professors to fill classrooms and laboratories”.

“The bill constrains student visa fees, limits the bureaucratic hurdles universities face in obtaining work visas for international professors, and generally enhances opportunities to bring the best and brightest students and educators from around the world to US universities,” he said.

“For far too long, our immigration laws have been economically self-defeating by forcing international students to leave the country after they graduate due to a limit on visas. Those antiquated policies are a detriment to our nation’s ability to retain the most innovative minds…who want to stay here and contribute their expertise to our economy on the path to the American dream.”

President Barack Obama said that yesterday’s Senate vote was “a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system once and for all”.

chris.parr@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Head Coach of Women's Basketball

California University Of Technology

Employee Relations Consultant

Macquarie University - Sydney Australia

Administrative Assistant

University Of Wollongong

Lecturer - Faculty Office

Monash University

Senior People & Culture Advisor

Swinburne University Of Technology
See all jobs

Most Commented

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford will host a homeopathy conference next month

Charity says Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford is ‘naive’ to hire out its premises for event

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations