A hundred university leaders signed a letter demanding a streamlined immigration process for international graduating students in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp and UNC-system President Thomas Ross were some of the signatories to the letter, which calls for an easier path to permanent residency for international students.
Universities have long argued that changes in immigration policy are needed to give the nation a competitive economic edge. But past attempts to reform immigration policy have been met with congressional inaction.
Elizabeth Barnum, director of international student and scholar services at UNC-CH, said the difficulty of the process may keep talented students from coming to the U.S. — they may be attracted to other countries with easier policies, she said.
Thorp said acquiring a visa is a tedious and costly process for foreign students.