WASHINGTON, November 29, 2012 - NAFSA: Association ofInternational Educators opposes H.R. 6429, the STEM Jobs Act of 2012, because it perpetuates a divisive, us-versus-them approach to immigration reform.
NAFSA supports the goal of creating a direct path to green cards for graduates of U.S. institutions of higher education, including but not limited to the STEM fields. Talented, innovative people are found in all fields, and all who are prepared to become productive members of our society and to contribute to our economy should be welcome. We do not support creating a new path for international students by eliminating another immigration program.
In the acrimonious political debate about immigration reform, we lose our way by embracing a mistaken, zero-sum approach to permanent immigration. Proposals like H.R. 6429 in this context appear guided by the fear of doing anything that increases the number of people who may immigrate to the United States. There is no reason to regard the current annual limit on the number of green cards as sacrosanct law.
We believe immigration is an opportunity, not a threat. Immigrants renew this nation and have done so since the country was created. The United States has been successful at attracting and integrating immigrants who have added tremendous value to our country and economy. We must continue to do so through a reformed immigration system that meets the needs of the whole nation.
NAFSA looks forward to supporting a comprehensive immigration reform bill that provides new immigration opportunities. Such a bill will be possible when the discussions move away from responding to individual constituent demands and towards a win-win situation that addresses the needs of all of us.