Keeping skilled workers here

The University should support legislation that would keep talented individuals in the state.

by Daily Editorial Board

Earlier this month, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that would reform the U.S. visa and green card systems.

The Immigration Innovation Act provides more visas for foreign students who receive degrees at American universities in science-related fields and want to stay in the country.

This bipartisan measure also increases the fees that companies pay for green cards and visas. Those funds will then be used to strengthen American education in STEM fields.

College presidents throughout the state have come forward in support of the legislation, including Dr. Earl Potter, the president of St. Cloud State University.

This legislation is a win-win, especially for research institutions like the University of Minnesota. Ensuring that educated, talented students from other countries are able to stay in the U.S. and the state should be a priority for the University. It should also support increased access to STEM education in the state’s K-12 schools so that Minnesota students are better prepared in these fields before attending college.

Like the president at St. Cloud State, University President Eric Kaler should come forward in support.

America’s immigration system is broken, and it is holding the country, and specifically this state, back from leading the world in research and innovation. We won’t be able to grow the economy and build a competitive workforce if we continue to make it hard for talented individuals who come from other countries to stay here.

As Klobuchar stated in a recent opinion piece published in the Star Tribune, why would we allow unlimited visas for professional athletes but have limits for engineers and scientists?