Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03) and Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05) today introduced the Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy Act (STAPLE Act) which would exempt foreign-born individuals who have earned an American Ph.D. in science, technology, mathematics, or engineering from the limits on the number of employment-based green cards and H-1B visas awarded annually.
"Educating students and then sending them to work for our competitors makes no sense," said Congressman Paulsen. "Our immigration system needs to allow these highly educated individuals the opportunity to stay and contribute to America's leadership in research and technology. Let's stop casting away these talented young people who have the potential to start a new business, create a break-through technology, or invent a life-improving tool that will ultimately further enrich our nation."
"We need to create a 21st century high-skilled immigration system that will stimulate jobs, enhance our global competitiveness, and help to grow a highly skilled U.S. workforce," said Congressman Quigley. "The STAPLE Act will provide greater opportunity for highly talented and educated immigrants from around the world, so that when they conceive the next Google or Facebook at American universities, they will be able to stay here and build these businesses with American capital in American communities."
America's leadership in research and technology is being threatened by our current immigration system that sends foreign-born, but U.S. educated, students back home to compete against us after earning advanced degrees. This not only puts U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage, but also jeopardizes our ability to innovate and create jobs. Studies have shown that while immigrants represent just 13% of the U.S. population, last year, they were responsible for launching 28% of all new businesses.
Rep. Jim Renacci (OH-10) and John Delany (MD-06) joined Rep. Paulsen and Rep. Quigley as original co-sponsors of the legislation.
"Approximately 36% of all international students in the U.S. were in STEM fields, yet, we send an estimated 50,000 educated workers out of the country every year because of visa caps. These highly educated students take their talents back home to compete against us in the global marketplace and other countries reap the benefits of their education," said Andy Halataei, Director of Government Relations at the Information Technology Industry Council. "The Staple Act would stop our domestic brain drain by keeping our most vital resource -- highly educated STEM students here in the US to innovate and grow our economy."
Paulsen, a champion of small business and advocate of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation, serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, the bicameral Joint Economic Committee, and is co-chair of the Congressional Medical Technology Caucus.