Our Sixth Idea
It is time for 8 Ideas in the 8th! For each of the last eight weeks of this campaign in Virginia 8th congressional district, we propose a policy idea designed to get Washington working again on behalf of our citizens and make our community and country a better place. If you missed the first five, you can read about gun safety, affordable housing, animal protection, the Supreme Court, and Pell Grants here.
Today we roll out the Sixth Idea: Green cards for those who earn a Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, or “STEM.”
This idea, advocated by the Obama Administration and introduced in both houses of Congress in the last few years, is just common sense. Business leaders, Republican and Democrat alike, ask the same question: Why should we educate some of the brightest potential innovators and researchers in the world and then send them home the moment they graduate? Instead, we should encourage them to stay here to patent their ideas, start their business, and start the next great idea in the high-tech sector.
The United States has a cap on the type of visas used for foreign students who have advanced degrees from universities here in the States. The idea would be to exempt qualifying students from this cap and potential eligibility for permanent residency.
The relevant and bipartisan legislation is called the Staple Act, because the policy would “staple” a green card to an advanced STEM diploma. According to statistics from the White House, every foreign-born graduate holding such a degree is associated with 2.6 jobs in the United States.
The Staple Act makes sense anywhere in America, but it especially makes sense here in one of the nation’s most educated and sophisticated congressional districts. And it is essential to American competitiveness.
We have just 19 days left in this campaign. I am invigorated to get to victory on Election Day, and then to get to work on this and other ideas!