He added that failing to let many of them stay in America after they graduate is “not how you grow new industries in America.”
Obama called for comprehensive immigration reform with three core parts: strengthening borders, creating a path toward green cards and possible citizenship for 11 million immigrants now in the US illegally, and bringing the system of legal immigration – including for high-skill applicants – “into the 21st century.”
The president’s blueprint aligns in some important ways with the framework unveiled by the bipartisan group of senators, including Sens. Charles Schumer (D) of New York and John McCain (R) of Arizona.
The second of four parts in their plan is “attracting the world’s best and brightest” by overhauling the system for legal immigration. “Our immigration proposal will award a green card to immigrants who have received a PhD or Master’s degree in science, technology, engineering, or math from an American university,” their framework says.