ICYMI: 70 National Security Leaders Call on Congress to Address Immigration Bottlenecks for STEM Talent

This week, 70 national security leaders sent a letter urging Congress to address the growing gap in advanced STEM talent with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Addressed to the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party, the letter details how current bottlenecks in the U.S. immigration system are hindering our nation’s ability to attract and retain skilled international workers, raising significant national security concerns for our nation’s competitive edge in the ongoing global strategic competition for technologies of the future.

The bipartisan coalition of signatories, which include former cabinet members, military leaders, congressional members, and presidential advisors, call on the committee to “conduct a substantive hearing examining the U.S. talent bottlenecks with knowledgeable witnesses and to issue a prescriptive report to committees with a jurisdictional mandate to take action.”

Key excerpts from the letter:

“As national security leaders who have served in each of the past several administrations, we are united in calling on Congress to address the emerging gap in advanced STEM talent with China. From computing to aerospace, critical sectors of our defense-industrial base rely on attracting global STEM talent.”

“Previous legislative efforts have considered exempting those with advanced STEM degrees from green card caps to better compete with China. That policy adjustment would respond appropriately to this national security concern, especially if paired with policies that protect government-supported research and development, such as the full implementation of NSPM-33.”

“Bottlenecks in the U.S. immigration system endanger our national advantage by driving international science and engineering talent elsewhere. Indian STEM graduates can expect to wait for decades before being issued a green card. A recent study suggests about 80% of STEM master’s graduates leave the United States, largely as a result of policy restrictions.”

“China is aggressively growing its domestic STEM talent pipelines. It has doubled its higher education budget in less than a decade. Chinese universities are rapidly climbing global rankings. While the United States began this century with a comfortable lead, China now has double the annual U.S. STEM masters’ output and will double the number of U.S. STEM PhDs within the next three years.”

Read the full letter: National Security Leaders’ Letter to House Select Committee

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