NAICU Washington Update

International Students and Immigration Priorities the Focus of Senate Hearing

June 17, 2022

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety held a hearing this week focused on building the U.S. workforce by attracting and keeping the best and brightest international students from around the world, and addressing the barriers to opportunities for individuals already in the U.S., including DACA registrants.

Both Democratic and Republican subcommittee members expressed their support for efforts to attract more STEM talent to the U.S. via U.S. colleges and universities, as well as the need for laborers and workers not enrolled in colleges.  In addition, members from both parties cited the ongoing border security crisis and the need to address asylum issues as part of any effort to increase opportunities for immigrants to the U.S. 

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), the committee chair, spoke to his 21-year effort to pass Dream Act legislation that would establish a permanent path to citizenship for individuals brought to the U.S. as children, but emphasized that the U.S. simply cannot allow everyone trying to enter the country to do so, and urged a bipartisan solution to the border crisis.

Witnesses included representatives from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Harvard Medical School, and the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University.  The witnesses supported increased federal efforts to attract foreign talent to the U.S., and finding a permanent statutory solution for participants in the DACA program.

NAICU joined a higher education community letter supporting increased federal efforts to encourage international students to study in the U.S. and urging Congress to address the uncertainty of the DACA program by passing the Dream Act.

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