ACS endorses Durbin Amendment to Defense Bill to help STEM Workers Gain Residence

October 25, 2022

The Honorable Richard Durbin
711 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Durbin:

On behalf of the American Chemical Society (ACS), I am pleased to endorse your amendment to the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act, S. Amdt. 6253, which would remove immigration limitations for applicants for who have earned an advanced degree in a STEM field and are currently employed or have an offer of employment. We applaud the bipartisan support for this amendment and hope it will be included in the final package.

Developing our domestic workforce and supplementing it with immigrants with STEM education and experience is necessary to maintain our global competitiveness. Ensuring a competitive, global recruiting process for U.S. universities provides post-secondary students with leading educators and thinkers from around the world. This high-quality faculty is an essential component in training the U.S. STEM workforce, creating an ecosystem that drives leading edge research and attracts the best talent both domestic and international.

Foreign-born students often benefit from federal and state investment in university research while studying in the U.S. Sending their talent and future earnings to other countries greatly diminishes their potential contributions to U.S. businesses, communities, and GDP. For the U.S. to realize a return on this investment, U.S.-trained scientists and engineers should receive preference in gaining legal permanent residency if they have the skills needed by employers and if they wish to remain in the U.S. This amendment could help maintain the attraction of the U.S. as a destination of choice for global talent, all the more important in a time of increased global competition for STEM talent.

Again, we thank you and the cosponsors for their support and look forward to working with the broader research community to ensure America retains its scientific leadership.  Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.


Anthony Pitagno

The Honorable Sherrod Brown
The Honorable Maisie Hirono
The Honorable Chris Coons
The Honorable Mike Rounds
The Honorable Richard Blumenthal
The Honorable Amy Klobuchar

The Honorable Alex Padilla
The Honorable Ron Wyden
The Honorable Chris Murphy