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Keeping the best and brightestPosted Tuesday, December 4, 2012, at 2:14 PM
America is blessed with the world's best colleges and universities. Many of the world's top scientists and engineers come to the U.S. to pursue an education at universities like our own Arkansas State.
When these scholars graduate, the United States should put out a welcome mat instead of forcing them to return to their home country. Graduates of American colleges and universities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math are behind many of the innovations and business startups that can grow our economy.
Foreign students receive nearly four out of every 10 master's degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Foreign scholars are a central part of America's current and future competiveness. These graduates have the potential to come up with an invention that could save lives or jump-start a whole new industry. They also have the ability to start a company that could provide jobs to tens of thousands of American workers.
This week, the House of Representatives voted to boost job creation and improve our economy by allowing the U.S to retain some of the world's brightest foreign graduates of American colleges and universities.
While the United States has the most generous level of legal immigration in the world, we select only 5 percent of our immigrants based on the skills and education they bring to America. Our immigration laws should not force the U.S. to forfeit retaining some of the best students from around the world.
The STEM Act, voted on this week in the House of Representatives, will encourage the best and brightest graduates to stay in the United States and add to our economy.
Although these graduates are in great demand by American employers, many of them end up on years-long green card waiting lists. And as a result, many of them give up and go to work for one of our global competitors.
In a global economy, we cannot afford to train them in the U.S. and then send them back home to work for our competitors. For America to be the world's economic leader, we must have access to the world's best talent. The STEM Act modifies our immigration system to allow some of the world's future innovators to stay in the United States.
The STEM Act can make our immigration system smarter. For the United States to continue as the world's greatest source of innovation and creativity we must attract the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. This will help Arkansas and America maintain our competitive edge in the years to come and will preserve America's place as the world leader in innovation.
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Representative Rick Crawford serves the First District of Arkansas
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