College town economies affected by immigration reform

Flag HatsWith news of the possibility of impending immigration reform continuing to spread, support still comes in from a variety of places.  Last week the presidents of Florida universities joined the call for change, with the great majority feeling that the economies of the towns that surround college campuses are reliant on graduate students, but that when overseas students graduate they are forced into leaving, resulting in a disparity within the workforce.

Eighteen different universities came together to send a letter to the state delegation that argued that retaining international students is a necessity.  “As leaders of Florida’s universities and colleges, educating the next generation of entrepreneurs, scientists and global pioneers, we call on you to address a critical threat to America’s pre-eminence as the center of innovation and prosperity: our inability under current United States immigration policy to retain and capitalize on the talented individuals we are training in our universities and colleges,” the letter reads.

One of the biggest areas of concern is in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, where available jobs far outnumber graduating students.  The letter argues that immigrant students generate job growth in these areas and that the economy of Florida is set to fail without those students being able to fill those jobs.

The Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida president, Ed Moore, says that those students then end up flying back home to their own countries because they cannot stay in the US, and go to work for competing foreign companies.