Senators introduce bill seeking to help international STEM students work in US

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A bill introduced to the U.S. Senate by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., seeks to help international students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, to work in the United States after the completion of their advanced degrees, according to a press release sent out by Durbin on Thursday.

The Keep STEM Talent Act of 2019, which was introduced June 5, proposes a reduction of barriers for international students with advanced degrees in STEM in order to make it easier for them to legally work in the United States. If passed, the bill would exempt graduates from restrictive green cards. The bill promises to help grow the nation’s economy and make the United States more competitive in the global economy, according to Durbin’s press release.

“By denying international students with STEM degrees a chance to continue their work in America, we are shipping their talents overseas and won’t see the positive impacts of their American education,” Durbin said in the press release.

According to Blumenthal in Durbin’s press release, as the nation improves access to STEM education, it is important to ensure that the country’s competitive edge is sustained and to encourage students who have gained skills from U.S. universities to “keep their talents in the United States.”

Harris and Klobuchar both echoed the sentiment that the United States has been built on the strength of immigrants and that this bill would be more welcoming for new talents in Durbin’s press release. According to Klobuchar, this bill also ensures that talented students can succeed in the country.

“I am proud to join my colleagues on this important legislation which will ensure the U.S. remains competitive in the global economy, and hardworking students are welcome on our campuses and in our country,” Harris said in Durbin’s press release.

The Keep STEM Talent Act of 2019 would ensure that STEM graduates secure employment that pays above the median wage level for their positions and that employers receive approved labor certifications for the positions they fill to certify that no qualified U.S. workers were available for the position, according to the press release.

The UC Office of the President was unable to be reached for comment as of press time.

Contact Yasmin Cristina Graeml at [email protected].