Universities seek US residency for foreign grad students

Posted June 29, 2012

— More than 100 university presidents nationwide have asked President Barack Obama and Congress for legislation that would allow foreign-born students to remain in the U.S. after graduation.

Duke University President Richard Brodhead, who signed the appeal along with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp and North Carolina State University Chancellor Randy Woodson, said many of the nearly 2,000 foreign graduate students at Duke are engaged in cutting-edge research that could benefit the U.S. economy.

"It's just a paradox that we should prepare these people who have these gifts who want to stay here and work and then send them somewhere else," Brodhead said Friday, noting thousands of foreign students return to their native countries after graduating in the U.S. because their visas expire.

"What we've asked is for a clear path to a green card for international students who come here," he said.

Pan Wu, who came from China to study chemistry at Duke, said he would like to stay in the U.S. after he gets his degree. He said he finds it frustrating that he can study in this country but cannot work here.

"I search on the websites to find job opportunities. It seems like many jobs require you have a green card in the first place, but for a student, how could we get a green card?" Wu said. "It's very important for the international students to have a guarantee to stay here."

Fewer than 300 of the foreign-born graduate students at Duke have permanent residency, or green cards, that allow them to stay in the U.S. after graduation. Brodhead said the U.S. would be better off if everyone who wanted to stay could.

"I would rather have them working here to bring us all forward than be competing with them in another country," he said.


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  • kermit60 Jul 2, 2012

    Once again we are being told that our immigration is not fair by foreigners. How about we don't let them come to school here in the first place because that doesn't seem good enough. It's bad enough we have thousands of our own demanding more and have a entitlement mindset. Now we have foreigners doing it also.

  • dsdaughtry Jun 29, 2012

    There is a way currently for foreign grad students to stay in the United States legally. Its called an H-1B Visa (google it for more info). For over 10 years It has allowed US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty or critical occupations. The foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and state licensure, if required to practice in that field.

    University chancellors are creating an embarrassing scenario getting in the political and public policy business for something already established in our country or creating another loop in our already complex laws. It makes me wonder if universities even understand resources and policies they teach?

  • Alexia.1 Jun 29, 2012

    "If they want to stay in this country, make them learn the language and attain citizenship. Background checks wouldn't hurt." --Crew Dog

    I'm pretty sure if they made it through grad school, they know the language.

  • getajobubum Jun 29, 2012

    These people are asking for the right to work in the US, not citizenship...
    koolady, they would hire Americans but unfortunately kids today are more worried about playing playstation instead of studying.

    Crew Dog, majority of the kids who are in GRAD school know english as atleast a 2nd language and in most cases as a 4th and 5th language...stop being ignorant

  • 426X3 Jun 29, 2012

    If they want to stay in this country, make them learn the language and attain citizenship. Background checks wouldn't hurt.

  • koolady Jun 29, 2012

    They need to employ Americans. I am sure we are just as smart as the foreigners.

  • Scubagirl Jun 29, 2012

    "foreign-born students to remain in the U.S. after graduation.'

    They should still have to remain here in a legal manner-no shoe in's. With all the foreign-born folks that have been found to be terrorists this should not happen without appropriate paperwork and background checks.

  • Objective Scientist Jun 29, 2012

    If it can be irrefutably documented/proven that a foreign student is involved with TRUE "cutting edge" (an overused term in higher education IMO) research, and that student will STAY in the USA, and the USA will be the beneficiary of the research - OK. However, IF tht is NOT the case, NO!!! There is some truly outstanding research being done by SOME faculty in our Universities, but there is also some, perhaps far too much, that is likely to provide any broad-based benefit to society and mankind. The policy that is the topic of this article should be provided with limitations and sufficient oversight!

  • SaveEnergyMan Jun 29, 2012

    Although I don't agree with the premise, some states already give such a benefit to illegals. At least the foreign grad students have jumped through the myriad of hoops to get here legally.

  • Crumps Br0ther Jun 29, 2012

    Why? Just let em in, Obama did.