Four Florida university leaders yesterday urged Congress to reform immigration laws in the United States in order to allow high-skilled overseas students to remain in the country rather than be forced to leave to compete with businesses in Florida, adding that many students feel stymied by the fact that their immigration status remains in limbo.
The comments were made during a teleconference that is part of a concerted effort by many organizations in Florida, which is home to approximately 825,000 undocumented immigrants. “Every single one of us has wonderful students whose immigration status may be questionable, who may have come here as small children and are having a very difficult time both getting into universities and getting access to financial aid,” says University of Miami president Donna Shalala. Shalala added that these students are the breadwinners of the state’s future and young people that should be invested in. Leaders in the House of Representatives claim that they are not ignoring these issues, but they have proven to be reluctant to consider the immigration reform bill that was passed by the Senate in June that would allow millions of undocumented immigrants to gain US citizenship.
The bill would also result in the expansion of US visas for highly skilled students, especially in the fields of science, technology, math and engineering. The Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida president, Ed Moore, urged Congress to stop making excuses to put off debating the issue and pursue a course of aggressively fixing the problems.