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Schiff calls for immigration policy change

August 20, 2011

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) met with a panel of scientists, engineers and technology firm executives recently to discuss possible changes to federal immigration policy that could boost American competitiveness in the technology sector.

Schiff said he is planning to draft a bill that would make it easier for foreign students in the fields of science and engineering to stay in the U.S. after they graduate and their student visas expire.

“We’ve had graduates in engineering who wanted to stay and start their own businesses, and we probably kicked them out of the country. In this kind of [competitive global] environment, that’s economic suicide,” Schiff said. “We need to change our immigration strategy from building fences to attracting talent.”

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Caltech Chief Innovation Officer Frederic Farina said “it’s almost impossible” for foreign graduates to stay long enough to establish a tech startup.

Nearly 40% of Caltech’s graduate students come from other countries, according to Marjory Gooding, the school’s director of international scholar services. While these students traditionally have sought to stay in America, many would now rather pursue opportunities in Taiwan, India, China and other emerging economies, Gooding said.

—Joe Piasecki

Three honored for community work

Three local residents — Thomas O’Shaughnessy, Kathy Kensinger and Larry Nemecek — will be honored by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party on Saturday for their work with clubs and in the community.

O’Shaughnessy will receive the countywide award as Top Male Democrat of the Year. He is treasurer of the Glendale Democratic Club and has been a member for five years.

He said he was surprised by the honor because of the amount of volunteer work done by other local Democrats.

“You reach a point when there are other people who are doing such great work and you don’t consider yourself,” he said.

An Air Force veteran, his Democratic involvement has been in presidential, congressional and local races.

O’Shaughnessy, a Burbank resident, has also been a volunteer with the Burbank Fire Department for about nine years.

“You need to do things in different parts of your life,” he said.

Kensinger and Nemecek are Democrats of the Year for the 43rd Assembly District.

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