Support Visas for Highly-Skilled Immigrants


Target: Members of the U.S. Congress

Goal:  Encourage lawmakers to pass legislation that would grant visas to high-skilled immigrants

The topic of immigration reform has remained heated, especially as conflicts in Mexico and Central American countries have led to a surge of minors heading to the U.S. border, increasing pressure on U.S. lawmakers.  However, there is one piece of reform on which both sides of the aisle agree: granting visas to immigrants who are working towards doctorates in the sciences.

In a New York Times op-ed article, “End the Immigration Impasse,” billionaires Sheldon Adelson, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet criticize Congress for not having yet produced an immigration reform bill. The three billionaires argue that even though they each vary in their political ideologies, they believe they would be able to agree on certain key issues, the first being a “talented graduate” reform.  In particular, this aspect of reform would remove the limit on available visas for legal immigrants. In order to be eligible, documented immigrants would need to have a graduate degree in the sciences from an accredited institution of higher education and have received a job offer.

The benefits of this high-skilled immigrant reform are numerous, making it appealing to Democrats and Republicans alike. First, many of the documented immigrants who pursue graduate degrees in American universities often receive some form of financial aid from the government. Therefore, it is illogical to help pay for their education if these immigrants will then be forced to use their talents elsewhere. Secondly, the United States is becoming increasingly less attractive to foreign researchers due to the country’s broken immigration policy and decreased funding in scientific research.

For these reasons, high-skilled immigration reform was passed in the Senate with a 68-to-32 vote and sent to the House of Representatives where it still remains.  Unfortunately, the argument between comprehensive immigration reform and piecemeal reform has made it impossible to pass a piece of legislation that is logical and receives bipartisan support.  By signing this petition, you will urge U.S. lawmakers to stop playing “politics as usual” and pass high-skilled immigration legislation that will make the United States more competitive in the field of sciences.


Dear Members of U.S. Congress,

With each day that passes and no sign of approving an immigration reform bill, the United States is losing its competitive edge in the sciences. The U.S. has become less attractive to high-skilled immigrants who have earned their graduate degrees in the U.S but who are now choosing to conduct their research elsewhere—preferably in nations without visa restrictions and greater funding for research.

Last year a bill that would grant visas to legal immigrants who earned a graduate degree in the sciences at an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S. was passed in the Senate.  However, its fate still remains unknown in the House. Its stalled fate is not due to any lack of support, as Democrats and Republicans alike have proved their intention to back the bill. Instead, the bill remains in limbo as Congress continues its usual political game. Although many support comprehensive immigration reform, certain aspects of reform that could be passed and implemented are held hostage.  Therefore, I ask you to put politics aside and pass a bill that encourages high-skilled documented immigrants to conduct their research in the U.S.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rhoda Baer via Wikimedia Commons

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61 Signatures

  • Alice Rim
  • Amy Wilson
  • Jill Ballard
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Holly Hall
  • Mal Gaff
  • Hermann Kastner
  • Nancy Petersen
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