Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued the following statement on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on ‘Strengthening our Workforce and Economy through Higher Education and Immigration:’
“The U.S. Chamber thanks Chairman Padilla and Ranking Member Cornyn for highlighting the significant economic and educational value in having international students come to the United States. Today’s students are tomorrow’s innovators at American companies, and it is critical that the U.S. continues to be an attractive destination for the world’s best and brightest.
“The Chamber wants to call attention to the processing backlogs at the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, which act as barriers to domestic economic growth and prosperity. The consular backlogs are preventing many international students from obtaining the visas they need to study in the U.S. When students cannot come to study in the U.S., our nation foregoes the economic benefits of their matriculation at a U.S. college or university, as they are not paying for housing, books, food, transportation, and many other living expenses that would inure benefits to the American economy.
“Second, there are very few options for international students to acquire work authorization in the U.S. upon graduation. When an individual is able to obtain a work authorized status in the U.S. post-graduation, the significant processing backlogs at the Department of Homeland Security make it difficult for American companies to onboard these individuals in a timely fashion, causing business disruptions for many companies across a host of industries.
“It is critical that members of this subcommittee appreciate that there are many countries competing with the U.S. for this critical talent that our nation is educating. Congress must get serious about revamping our immigration laws to allow American colleges and universities to attract these individuals to the U.S. and put American businesses in a better position to retain this critical talent, and the U.S. Chamber is eager to work with the members of this subcommittee to solve these problems.”