Thursday, July 7, 2011

The STAPLE Act and the DREAM Act

I read an interesting opinion piece in the Daily Californian today about the DREAM Act and the STAPLE Act, which I’d never heard of before. STAPLE stands for Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy, and it’s an act designed to stop the brain drain of people with advanced degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields from leaving the country. It would give automatic green cards to foreign students who gained a higher degree in those fields. It has been advocated by Bill Gates, President Obama, and both Democratic and Republican representatives. The writer of the article, Peggy Sands Orchowski, did not specify why the act did not pass originally, but it’s interesting to think of it in terms of the DREAM Act. She thinks that Democrats could try to attach the DREAM Act to the STAPLE Act, since it has more bipartisan support, and that the two acts could possibly pass together.

Another intriguing point she made was (I think) intended to be a throw away comment to start off the piece but really had me thinking. She said that immigration reform is not “dead” in the current Congress the way that people think. While it is true that comprehensive immigration reform has hit a brick wall, immigration reform in general still has a chance of happening piece by piece. This made me wonder, does immigration reform have to pass all at once? I’m aware that immigration is a really complex issue that requires multiple legislation changes and that the easiest way to do that would be to pass everything at once, but with the current political climate the way it is, would it be easier to pass things one at a time? What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Click here to read the opinion piece.


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