Immigration reform would benefit national security

FLAGThe United States Citizenship and Immigration Services encourage innovative minds from other countries to study and work in the United States with the help of various types of visas. However, many people think the US government needs to do more to assist students who study in the science, technology, engineering and maths fields in the country to stay and grow the economy by creating jobs and businesses.

A 2013 study by the National Foundation for American policy found that around 70 percent of students in many vital STEM university graduate programs within the United States are immigrants, while a 2012 study conducted by the Congressional Research Service found that the number of overseas graduate students in the US is continuing to increase. 24 years ago, in 1990, there were approximately 91,000 immigrant graduate students in the US, a number that by 2009 had grown to almost 149,000.

Encouraging innovative minds to remain in the United States after they have graduated is not only vital to the US economy, but also to national security. Chuck Hagel, the Secretary of Defense, has proposed slashing military spending, while increasing investment in new technologies, yet many point out that he seemingly fails to realize that it is from the minds of bright immigrant workers, who need to be given permission to stay in the country, that many of these innovative technologies spring.

Comprehensive immigration reform is the only way for the United States to stay abreast of the latest advances in science and technology, opportunities that are lost when overseas STEM students are forced to leave the country.