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Published: Wednesday, 3/27/2013

Sanity from the academy

A group of Ohio university presidents has come out, commendably, for federal immigration reform. Their opinion deserves to carry weight.

In a joint statement, the presidents said current immigration policies deprive U.S. markets of talented foreign-born graduates, especially among those with backgrounds in physics, engineering, and medicine.

We aren’t producing enough graduates in these fields among our own citizens. Our economy needs foreign talent in these areas.

The university presidents are working with the Partnership for a New American Economy, a group of civic leaders across the country that seeks to raise awareness of the economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform.

The Ohio signatories include presidents Lloyd Jacobs of the University of Toledo, Mary Ellen Mazey of Bowling Green State University, Gordon Gee of Ohio State University, Barbara Snyder of Case Western Reserve University, David Hodge of Miami University, Santa Ono of the University of Cincinnati, and Daniel Curran of the University of Dayton.

If these leaders want to make a difference, they need a strategy. The problem with getting immigration reform done in Washington lies not with Ohio’s two U.S. senators, to whom the presidents’ letter is addressed, or, increasingly, with the national Republican Party.

The roadblock is the GOP-controlled House, which seems incapable of compromise or of passing meaningful legislation. The presidents may need to focus their efforts on Speaker John Boehner, a fellow Ohioan who was once known as a legislative pro.

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