Science, Tech & Environment

VIDEO: Senator introduces bill to keep immigrants with science degrees, legal or not, in U.S.

This story is a part of

Global Nation

This story is a part of

Global Nation

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Belen Colin is a mechanical engineering student in Colorado and an undocumented immigrant. She would benefit from a proposal to allow undocumented immigrants studying so-called STEM subjects to receive student visas, and legal status. (Photo from AFP vide

The United States Congress is considering legislation that would help keep high-value immigrants in the country.

The legislation would allow undocumented immigrants who are studying science, technology, engineering and math to apply for temporary student visas.

Belen Colin, a mechanical engineering student at Metro State College of Denver, in an undocumented immigrant. She said she wants make sure her parents risked everything to come here, for a reason.

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"I don't just want to finish high school, drop out and work at a low-skill job," she said.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Michael Bennet (D.-Colo.) would also allow some holders of temporary student visas to receive permanent resident status if they're on course to graduate with an advanced degree in those fields.

Wolfgang Pauli, a neuroscientist studying for a Ph.D. at the University of Colorado-Boulder, said it doesn't make sense for the United States to spend a great deal of money educating foreign students, only to prevent them from staying.

Bennet said he's heard from high-tech companies all over the state and the country who are having a hard time filling the vacancies they have. This measure is meant to help them.

Opponents, though, say it's not fair to give visas to foreigners and in so doing take away jobs from native-born Americans.

"This is about jobs and who gets them. And the bottom line is we need to preserve them for American citizens first and foremost," said Stan Weekes, director of the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform.

With this being an election year, and illegal immigration being a hot-button topic, the bill's prospects are uncertain.