Government Officials Hope Immigrant Innovators Can Stay In US

While many are arguing over immigration reform, a new study has revealed that immigrants are necessary for businesses to thrive, according to The New York Times. The survey released by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a nonprofit group co-founded by New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, revealed that many foreign-born inventors are trained in the country, however, many worry post-graduation about their future options for living in the United States.

Under current immigration laws, many student immigrants are only allowed to stay in the United States for 12 to 29 months after their graduation.

The majority of the innovators who move to the the U.S. to study science, technology, engineering or math, also called STEM subjects. Mayor Bloomberg believes it is important to keep these foreign graduates in the United States because otherwise they will return back to their countries and become American competitors.

“Now that we know immigrants are behind more than three of every four patents from leading universities, the federal laws that send[s] so many of them back to their home countries look[s] even more patently wrong,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement.

Along with Bloomberg, many lawmakers would like foreign-born innovators to be allowed to stay in the United States. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced the SMART Jobs Act, which stands for “Sustaining our Most Advanced Researchers and Technology,” earlier this year, which they hope will help make the process of acquiring legal U.S. citizenship more streamlined. The bill has yet to be voted on, however, it has been gaining popularity since its introduction in May.

“It makes no sense to attract the most talented scientists and engineers from other countries to our schools to educate them, only to send them home to compete with American companies and create jobs – perhaps even the next Google – in other countries,” Alexander said in a statement.