Should we give international students green cards with their diplomas?

Our immigration system needs reform, but this solution simply adds one more layer of complexity on a broken system.

  • close
    The author argues that giving green cards to international students who graduate with advanced degrees in math, science, technology, or engineering isn't the best solution for pulling the US economy out of its current doldrums.
    Carlos Barria/Reuters/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

The National Foundation for American Policy released a policy brief this week that says international students who graduate from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) should get a green card with their diplomas. The paper also says such a policy would significantly benefit U.S. competitiveness and the economy overall.

In "Keeping Talent in America," the NFAP conducted research funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation that shows a highly skilled Indian national sponsored today for the most common skilled employment-based immigrant visa could wait 70 years to receive a green card. The report addresses the need for STEM graduate talent and solutions to the backlog.

While I agree that our immigration system needs reform, this solution simply adds one more layer of complexity on a broken system.

And we don't just need high growth entrepreneurs to pull our economy out of this morass, we need an army of entrepreneurs creating small, medium and high growth ventures.

The last great entrepreneurial revolution in our economy was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Those entrepreneurs created the businesses that were the foundation of the industries that dominated our economy for decades to come. And they weren't all a bunch of PhD scientists. Many were hard working, blue color folks who developed innovations that changed how all of us lived our lives. Some were sons and daughters of sharecroppers and others were just of the boat coming to a land they hoped would offer opportunity.

We need to find a way to open the doors wide open for those who want to come here and start new businesses. We know that immigrants are 30% more likely than the rest of us to start a business. We need their energy and drive.

I firmly believe that we need a structured system for immigration that is based in the law. But, the one we have now was set up to staff our farms and our factories.

I know many want immigration to be a tool to preserve language and culture. My goal is to have immigration be a tool for economic expansion. We need a system that will turn immigrant entrepreneurs loose in this land of opportunity to help rebuild our economy.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.