On July 13, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship held a hearing to discuss if current U.S. immigration policies are pushing foreign-born talent to other countries, specifically Canada, including talent in science and research. The subcommittee heard testimony from Executive Director of the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) Stuart Anderson; Associate Professor at Howard University Dr. Ronil Hira; Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dr. Sudip Parikh; and Chief Executive Officer of Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) Jennifer G. Young.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Ranking member Tom McClintock (R-CA) opened the hearing with opposing visions of U.S. immigration policy. Rep. Lofgren claimed U.S. immigration policies are outdated and should be revamped to compete in the global economy. She mentioned that the current immigration system risks pushing top talent to countries like Canada who have dedicated programs for high-skilled immigrant workers. Rep. McClintock agreed that there needs to be changes made to our immigration policy, but argued that U.S. immigration policies place Americans last and foreign labor first, creating a system that allows employers to “fill positions of wages substantially less than the domestic labor market would otherwise command.”
Witnesses’ testimony led to some discussion on the benefits to scientific research. In particular, Dr. Parikh highlighted the value of foreign-born researchers in the U.S., stating, “According the National Science Foundation, more than 50% of post-doctoral researchers and 28% of science and engineering faculty are immigrants. And 38% of the scientific Nobel prizes that have been awarded to Americans since 2000, were awarded to immigrants.” Dr. Parikh and other witnesses agreed that immigration reform was necessary to energize the U.S. research enterprise as some Republican members of the committee levied concerns about uncontrolled immigration and the loss of American jobs.
The witnesses’ testimonies and a full recording of the hearing are available on the House Judiciary Committee website.
This article was contributed by COSSA’s summer intern, Lillian Chmielewska of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.