Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly Urges Congressional Approval of Immigration Reform

August 1, 2013 | News

Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly has called upon members of the House of Representatives to move forward with the effort to pass the comprehensive reform bill. In a letter to the members of the New York delegation, Chancellor Kelly said: “I ask that you give leadership to comprehensive meaningful immigration reform.”

“Our diverse student body—nearly half of our 270,000 matriculated students are foreign born—along with our historic role in educating immigrants and migrants and our experience in operating an extensive citizenship assistance program has contributed to our commitment to advocating for reform of the country’s immigration system,” the interim chancellor wrote on July 24.

Interim Chancellor Kelly noted that the Senate last month recognized the crucial role immigrants play in the well-being of our state and nation by passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The Senate bill addressed a number of key concerns: it offers a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, an expedited path to citizenship for undocumented youth (DREAMers), and an increase in the number of H1-B visas allowed, encouraging graduates with advanced STEM degrees from U.S. universities to stay in the country and contribute their talents to local, state, and national economies.

“We applaud that effort and urge the U.S. House of Representatives to follow suit,” the interim chancellor wrote. “Colleges and universities across the country understand the pressing need for such reform measures. Too many of our international students graduate with advanced degrees, particularly in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), and then, due to quota limitations, are forced to leave the United States,” he said.

“Too many undocumented youth are prevented from contributing to our society for lack of legal status. Too many of their parents are trapped in low-paying, often harmful work environments. Given the potential impact of federal reform efforts on the University and its students—and on the growth of the state’s innovation economy, so dependent on highly skilled workers and entrepreneurial partnerships between business and higher education—I ask that you give leadership to comprehensive, meaningful immigration reform.”

CUNY is a national leader in providing services to immigrants and the University and “will continue to play a leading role in providing advisement services and educational opportunities to our newest immigrants,” the interim chancellor said.