Previously quiet college presidents speak out in favor of immigration reform

Most educational institutions prefer to remain quiet on contentious issues, such as immigration reform, as they do not want to affect their funding sources.

Even a not so observant person would realize that immigration reform is taking a backseat to other political issues of the day. The shutdown was one of those issues. It will take some time before the nation recovers from that fiasco —- an unbelievably stupid move based on two political parties with seemingly nothing better to do than fight over health reform, which is separately funded.

That being said, college presidents watching the daily debacle unfold have chosen to speak up and raise their concerns about the lack of action on immigration reform. In a nutshell, immigrant reform also affects the education of the current generation of young entrepreneurs, scientists, computer professionals and chief executive officers. As the situation stands, colleges and universities are not able to utilize the talent they train, because they cannot retain them.

Educators pointed out that many of the immigrants that grace their halls of learning leave to start companies of their own, creating jobs for others. Statistics show immigrants are twice as likely to grow their own companies. In Florida alone, immigrant-owned businesses contribute at least $13.3 billion for the state each year.

But, it’s not just the jobs that passing immigration reform would generate. It is also about how it would stimulate the local economy. For instance in the real estate niche, immigrants increased home values by $11,672 in Miami, between 2000 and 2011. It is about the taxes immigrants would pay. It is about putting money back into the local economy and reviving it. Something the nation desperately needs at all levels these days.

Passing the immigration related DREAM Act would allow those students left in limbo to move forward with their education and ultimately introduce at least 1.4 million jobs into the marketplace, with the ability to generate at least $328 billion over the next two decades. That is definitely not small change for Florida.

Something must be done to change the current immigration system so that it works for the benefit of the states and the nation as a whole. If the U.S. expects to hold on to its competitive advantage in the global marketplace, they need to deal with an antiquated immigration reform system that withholds the potential of billions of dollars from the nation’s coffers.

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