On Thursday, three speakers—a congressman, an economist and a foreign-born CEO—gathered at the American Enterprise Institute to share their distinct but complementary takes on how to use immigration reform to create American jobs. The event was centered on a new study authored by economist Madeline Zavodny, a professor at Agnes Scott College, and co-sponsored by AEI and the Partnership for a New American Economy. U.S. Representative Tim Griffin from Arkansas’s Second District kicked off the event by laying out the problem: we provide valuable education to foreign students and then send them back to their home countries to compete against us, even though we do not have enough workers to fill high-skilled jobs in America. Griffin described a bill he is about to introduce that would allocate green cards to foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in STEM fields to encourage these students to put their skills to work in the U.S. Zavodny then argued against the general conception that immigrant workers are competing for jobs with Americans. Her report shows no significant effect of immigration on natives’ employment; in fact, having a bigger share of foreign-born advanced degree holders increases jobs for Americans. She suggested policies to aid high-skilled, U.S.-educated foreign workers in getting green cards and visas. Finally, Sudhakar Shenoy, CEO of technology company IMC, described how difficult it is now for foreign students to obtain visas to America, adding that America might even lose talented workers to competing nations if the problem is not properly addressed.
Immigration reform is a jobs solution that does not require cutting government programs or raising taxes. A new study -- cosponsored by AEI and the Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan group of mayors and business leaders -- finds that immigrants can complement, rather than compete with American workers: 2.6 jobs for American workers are created for every foreign graduate of a U.S. university with an advanced degree who stays to work in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field.
Headlining this event with the report’s author, Madeline Zavodny, will be U.S. Representative Tim Griffin from Arkansas's Second District, who will soon be introducing a bill to allocate green cards to foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in STEM fields, and technology CEO Sudhakar Shenoy. Breakfast will be served.