Leaders from 34 of Greater Philadelphia’s colleges and universities came together this week to pen a letter to House members of our regional congressional delegation, urging Congress to enact reforms to the nation’s highly-skilled immigration system. The letter calls for Congress to pass sensible immigration legislation which includes the highly-skilled provisions that were adopted in the Senate earlier this summer.

“Reform to our immigration system is essential in order for Greater Philadelphia to attract the many foreign-born students who are earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields from our local colleges and universities,” said Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., President, Villanova University, and co-chair of the Regional College and University Presidents’ Council. “Our members believe that highly-skilled immigration reform will help our region remain competitive in the global economy.”

The collaborative efforts of the Regional College and University Presidents’ Council (Presidents’ Council) and the CEO Council for Growth (CEO Council), which is led by business, higher education, and civic leaders within the tri-state, 11-county Greater Philadelphia region, provide opportunities for higher education and business leaders to leverage combined strengths and to act with a coordinated regional voice. Together, these organizations are advocating for members of Congress to support the following reforms, and to ensure that they are not weakened during the legislative process:

  • Establish a market-based H-1B cap and increase the employment-based green card cap;
  • Exempt STEM graduates from U.S. universities from the annual employment-based visa cap if they have an offer of employment from a U.S. business in a related field;
  • Streamline and improve visa and green card application process;
  • Eliminate the employment-based per-country visa cap;
  • Use new company-paid visa and green card fees to help fund STEM programs in U.S. schools to train the next generation American workforce; and
  • Provide visas and green cards to startup entrepreneurs and advance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degree holders from U.S. universities.

If you would like to join our advocacy efforts as we urge Congress to keep the immigration reform discussion moving and to ensure that the highly-skilled provisions that were adopted in the Senate are not weakened during the legislative processplease contact your representative in Congress by clicking here.

The Presidents’ Council letter can be found here.