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Potter at State of the Union

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

President Earl H. Potter III

President Earl H. Potter III

President Earl H. Potter III is attending this evening's State of the Union Address.

Potter has been a vocal supporter of easing work-visa restrictions for international students, most notably supporting the proposed Immigration Innovation (I2) Act of 2013.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), one of four sponsors of the so-called "I-Squared" bill, invited Potter to attend the address by President Barack Obama, set for 8 p.m. CST in the House of Representatives Chamber, United States Capitol, Washington D.C.

Among other things, I-Squared would reform the H-1B visa category for persons seeking professional jobs in the U.S. The annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas would be expanded to 115,000, with the possibility of an increase to up to 300,000 annual visas, depending upon hiring demands.

St. Cloud State had 1,025 international students enrolled fall semester, many of them in graduate-level science and engineering programs. View a Center for International Studies chart (PDF).

Supporters of the bipartisan measure argue the current system of educating international students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- then sending the back to their home countries -- amounts to training our global economic competitors.

View video of Klobuchar introducing I-Squared with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.).

I-Squared also calls for a $1,000 increase in visa fees charged to immigrants. Proceeds, estimated to be about $300 million per year, would fund science, technology, engineering and math education and worker retraining programs in the U.S.

“America must be a country that makes things again, that invents things, that exports to the world, and to do that we need the world’s talent,” Klobuchar said in news release on her website. “Right now we’re educating and training our competition by sending students who obtain advanced degrees here in the U.S. back to their home countries. We don’t want them creating the next Medtronic or 3M in India, we want them creating it right here in Minnesota and across America.” 

The President of the United States annually delivers a State of the Union Address, reporting on national priorities, national conditions and the President's legislative agenda.

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