Immigration Blog

Sen. Schumer Press Release of BRAINS Act

By Bill at September 20, 2012 04:57
Filed Under: Immigration News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2012


Current Immigration Policy Encourages Foreign Students With Advanced Degrees To Move Home, Despite Shortage of Engineers in U.S. “BRAINS Act” Would Make It Easier For Most Talented Foreign Students To Stay In U.S. After School And Fill High-Tech Jobs Vital To Emerging Start-ups and Tech Giants

Senate Plan Would Create 55K New STEM Visas In Each of Next Two Years


WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Chris Coons (D-DE) unveiled legislation on Tuesday to reform the U.S. visa system in order to encourage the world’s best and brightest to stay in the United States after receiving graduate degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. 


The “BRAINS Act” would fix a long-existing problem in our visa system that, despite the worsening shortage of highly-skilled tech workers based in the United States, forces many of the world’s brightest students to return to their country of origin, taking with them any economic growth and jobs that they might create. 


The legislation creates a pilot program through which 55,000 new green cards per year will be available for foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in STEM fields. It also reduces the red tape to obtain a student visa, and allows high-tech workers currently in the United States on temporary visas to renew their visas without having to first return to their country of origin. 


“It makes no sense that America is educating the world’s smartest and most talented students and then, once they are at their full potential, kicks them out the door,” said Schumer. “We should be encouraging every brilliant and well educated immigrant to stay here, build a business here, employ people here, and grow our economy.  Fixing our broken greencard system will help ensure that the next eBay, the next Google, the next Intel will be started in America, not in Shanghai.”


"American colleges and universities are educating some of the sharpest technical minds on the planet," Coons said. "So why are we sending them away to pursue their ideas in other countries? We are fueling the economies that are trying to beat us in the global marketplace. The BRAINS Act clears a path for foreign-born, American-educated students with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math to stay in the United States after graduation to pursue their ideas and create jobs here. This bill is a creative solution to a significant problem, and a smart way to inject new innovations into the American market. I'm proud to support these needed reforms to our immigration system, and to help unite families who are an integral part of the fabric of this country."


Current immigration policy encourages foreign students to study and get their degrees from America’s top universities, but discourages those same students from remaining in the United States and starting new companies in America. Schumer and Coons noted that those students who wish to make America their permanent home must compete for very limited H1-B temporary visas that make it difficult to change jobs, earn a promotion, or travel abroad; or they must eventually give up and return home—wasting what is often up to a decade of educational investment by our American schools.


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