Students Find Opportunity in Immigration Reform

The United States current deliberations over what sort of reform policies should be utilized may provide some opportunity for foreign students in the United States.

One of the proposed programs is to discontinue the current Diversity Lottery program in favor of a student program which would provide green cards to certain students.

Typically, this program is casually referred to as STEM. However, this is only the abbreviation of the degree fields that would benefit from the program: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Currently, foreign students studying in the United States must leave the country when their studies are complete. The new program would allow students in one of the four fields to get out of school and immediately get permanent residency. They would not have to leave the country to reapply.

Permanent residency is the immigration status associated with green cards. Permanent Residents are sometimes called green card holders.

Detractors of the STEM proposal cite the fact that the Diversity Program that the State Department has been running for nearly two decades contributes a great deal to the diversity of the country. If STEM was to be enacted, claim the detractors, the only people who would be able to enter the country would be people who are wealthy enough or disposed towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Supporters of the potential program claim that those are the exact reasons why the program would be a good thing. Greater wealth coming into the country and a heavier focus on more practical fields of study would further bolster the United States economy.

Foreign students also hold opinions about what is to be done with the STEM program.

Some claim that STEM would be perfect for them, that it is their ultimate goal to study in, and one day, live in the United States. It should be noted that a green card is a precursor to and requirement of citizenship in the United States for those not born in the country.

Others claim that the purpose of learning abroad is to return to one’s home countries to improve their homes. This view posits that the STEM program is not only unnecessary, but detrimental to students’ homelands.

Regardless of what opinion one may hold, the matter is still being considered by congress and will likely remain in debate for a long period of time. Contentious issues such as immigration are notoriously difficult to pass in the United States Congress.


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