In a Huffington Post piece, Cornell University President David J. Skorton reminds us that immigration has always been a net benefit for this country and makes the case for immigration reform—especially for students.
Skorton explains the dilemma involved with international students who come to US shores to study: on the one hand, we could allow them to return home afterward, taking their talents with them so they can eventually become the next generation of US-friendly world leaders. Or we can encourage them to stay here so we can capitalize on their talents and ideas—but risk pushback from those who say immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans.
Either way, Skorton believes we need a better, more student-friendly policy:
We should be working toward the adoption of comprehensive immigration reform tailored to the economic, political, social, cultural and scientific realities of a world in which ideas and jobs more and more easily transcend borders. What is needed is a set of immigration policies that gives us the best of both worlds — policies flexible enough to offer green cards to talented individuals who want to stay, while encouraging others to return home with some of the best education we have to offer and the potential to make a lasting difference in the world. As recent events in the Middle East have demonstrated, no government, no matter how repressive, can inhibit the flow of ideas. The new approach to immigration policy must recognize the need for knowledge workers, as well as ideas, to move more easily back and forth between countries.