Proposed BRAINS Act Could Help U.S. Economy

New York Senator Chuck Schumer announced a new immigration bill called The Benefits to Research and American Innovation through Nationality Statuses Act that would help foreign students stay in the United States after graduation. The BRAINS Act will operate at the federal level and provide opportunities in New York City, Silicon Valley and other important science and technology regions across the country.

Aimed at foreign-born STEM students who obtain advanced degrees from U.S. universities, the BRAIN Act proposes that the government offer an additional 55,000 green cards each year.

“It makes no sense that America is educating the world’s smartest and most talented students and then, once they are at their full potential and mastered their craft, kicking them out the door,” Schumer wrote in a press release on September 18, 2012. “We should be encouraging every brilliant and well-educated immigrant to stay here, build a business here, create wealth here, employ people here, and grow out economy. Fixing our broken green card system will help ensure that the next eBay, the next Google, the next Intel will be started in New York City, not in Shanghai or Bangalore or London.”

While current immigration policy encourages foreign students to study in the United States, there is no option aside from the limited H1-B temporary visa to help them establish a permanent home here. Many foreign-born students are unable to start companies, change jobs or earn promotions, and usually end up having to leave the country before using their potential to contribute to the business landscape. The BRAINS Act sets out to boost the economy by eliminating this critical obstacle and providing a legal channel for permanent residency.

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