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Ohio State joins immigration reform conversation

April 04, 2013

Ohio State is a 21st-century melting pot for new ideas and perspectives--and national policy leaders are taking notice. Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Seth Harris recently came to campus for a conversation on immigration reform.


Ohio State joins immigration conversation - Ohio State's William Brustein and Seth Harris, acting U.S. labor secretary
Ohio State joins immigration conversation - Ohio State doctoral student Matteo Muratori, from Italy
Ohio State joins immigration conversation - Seth Harris, acting U.S. labor secretary, with Ohio State's William Brustein
Ohio State joins the conversation on immigration
Ohio State joins the conversation on immigration - Nihar Phalak, a doctoral candidate from India, discusses immigration with Seth Harris, acting U.S. labor secretary
Ohio State joins immigration conversation - Seth Harris, acting U.S. labor secretary
Ohio State joins conversation on immigration - Seth Harris, acting U.S. labor secretary, with Ohio State doctoral candidates Nihar Phalak of India, Matteo Muratori of Italy, and Shuang Li of China
Ohio State joins immigration conversation - Ohio State Prof. Judy Tzu-Chun Wu (History), Dean Patrick Osmer (Graduate School), and Richard Herrmann (Political Science)
Ohio State joins immigration conversation - Prof. P. Chris Hammel (Physics)
Ohio State joins immigration conversation
Ohio State joins immigration conversation
Ohio State joins immigration conversation - Seth Harris, acting U.S. labor secretary, and Nihar Phalak of India, a doctoral candidate at Ohio State


Ohio State is a global university. Our academic programs are influenced by cultures from all across the world. We have research partnerships with universities in nearly every corner of the world. And thousands of people on campus speak a second or even third language.

That international engagement recently drew Seth Harris, acting secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor, to campus. He came to the Ohio Union for a small discussion with doctoral students, faculty, and industry leaders on immigration reform.

"Ohio State is the perfect landscape for this discussion," says William Brustein, vice provost for International Affairs. "We are a truly global university, a campus that is fully engaged with the world."

The challenges international graduate students face are distinctly different from the majority of students on campus today. While many advanced-degree recipients are focused on finding a job after commencement, many international students face being sent back to their home countries. For some, it can mean the end of pursuing the American dream. And the United States also misses out, losing great young thinkers in science, technology, engineering, and math to other nations with which we compete economically.

"Immigration is an important part of driving American innovation," Harris told the group. "We cannot allow talent to slip away because of a flawed system."

As President E. Gordon Gee recently told a Columbus Metropolitan Club audience: "We graduate these fabulous international students. I would love to staple a green card to their diploma so they can stay and be here with us."

Harris' visit gave students a front seat to immigration reform. They addressed issues head on and asked questions about how the system might change.

"This is a chance for Ohio State to contribute to the national discussion in a tangible way," Harris told the group.

Harris joined a growing group who've made Ohio State front and center on discussions about major national issues.

Last year, President Barack Obama toured the Center for Automotive Research, meeting with students working on alternative-energy projects like the Buckeye Bullet; Health Sec. Kathleen Sebelius toured the College of Medicine's Clinical Skills Training and Simulation Center; and Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack met with students and faculty in the Department of Food Science and Technology, saying Ohio State agricultural research plays a vital role in health issues.


International Ohio State, by the numbers:

  1. 6,000 international students on campus
  2. 115 different countries represented by faculty, staff, and students
  3. 100 study abroad opportunities in 40 different countries.
  4. Alumni in more than 150 countries