In the previous edition, we mentioned how proud we feel about all the accomplishments of the graduates. Our coming editions will try to register their victories in the surrounding area and we will also continue to reflect on the changing trend that these new graduates pose for the future of the nation.
In the case of Latinos we have several kinds of graduates. We have an increasing number of children born here from documented or undocumented parents. Some of the these children belong to families who have been part of this country even before the Anglo Europeans arrived in the Americas; others come from the different waves of annexation of territories, or different migratory waves to United States. The highest number of these students is from immigration of the last twenty years. Some of them were born here, and some were not.
Nevertheless most of them belong to an increasing number of young people that very soon will be of voting age. Many of them also belong to families with different levels of documentation; and they have seen first hand how the legality or non-legality of their parents and relatives here, affected their stability and way of life.
The United States has always served itself by providing an open door to foreigners who would serve the country. Today in many instances it closes the door to the people they have invested in, thus throwing away the human and money capital invested by the students’ communities.
Another matter to reflect on is how, under the present immigration law, the international students, after having obtained their degree, must leave the country and are not offered the possibility to stay and work at a place where they would be most fruitful. The post-graduation picture for those students is not to stay and serve, but to pack and leave after their student visa expires.
Therefore, the country is actually turning its back on the possibility of retaining skilled individuals, a huge human capital that will look to other countries for ways to serve and move ahead using the skills acquired in U.S. In other words, they help the competition abroad because they did not find a space here.
According to statistics, China, India and South Korea send a total of 400,000+ students to the U.S. each year. Most of them are STEM students with majors in science, technology, engineering and math. They could remain here for important work in their fields.
States like Massachusetts are leading in immigration reform for graduates. Gov. Deval Patrick recently announced the “Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program,” an attempt to retain high-skilled international students who could stay after graduation to start or grow a business. Patrick intends to keep foreign students in Massachusetts to enhance economic growth and create employment opportunities.
The US’s broken immigration policy only deprives the nation of the prosperity that could be generated by thousands of highly skilled graduates. Passing immigration reform will do more than keep families together and put undocumented immigrants on a pathway to citizenship: passing reform will also help boost national security, economy and prosperity.
It is time for the US to reconsider immigration and make changes according to current challenges. We could have a future that enhances our lives and gives peace of mind to thousands of families.
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