First it was announced they could pay in-state tuition at community colleges, and now immigrant students might be eligible to get a green card if they complete a degree in a science or technology field.
ASU President Michael Crow and 164 other university presidents are urging Washington to consider providing green cards to foreign-born students who get a degree in a STEM field - science, technology, engineering or math.
"It's like riding a bike because you have to keep going in order to succeed, you can't stop or else you fall down," said 23-year-old ASU student Joshua Montano.
He said he has no choice to fall.
"I am undocumented," he told us.
Although he has aspirations of being a storm chaser, he won't be able to get a job once he earns his degree. But that may soon change.
ASU is throwing its support behind an initiative that would grant green cards to students such as Montano who gets degrees in a math or science field in hopes of retaining the best and brightest.
"There's always innovations being made, and I want to be a part of those innovations," Montano said. "Getting a green card for all the hard work I've done, it would be like a dream come true."
"Less than half the Ph.Ds awarded in this country go to U.S. citizens," said Al Boggess, the director of the math program at ASU.
He said there are more STEM jobs than there are U.S. applicants.
"We need to get the economy moving, and these are critical jobs that will make that happen," Boggess said.
"It's hopeful, but also we don't want to forget other careers and other dreamers," said Carmen Cornejo, who works with undocumented students who are pursuing careers in STEM fields.
She said this is a step but students who were brought here illegally as kids still can't pay in-state tuition - students like Montano, who said education is everything.
"Even if they try and take our green cards away, education is still there," he said.
Arizona Sen. Frank Antenori told us he's all for it, but only if the degree recipients have student visas, not if they are here illegally. It's still not quite clear if this initiative is in line with that sentiment.
The governor's spokesman said, "We are aware of the discussions involving disbursement of some kind of green card for graduates in certain highly sought fields. The governor is still studying this issue, but has not yet taken a formal position. On this issue, however, it is at least encouraging to see it being debated by Congress and moving through the proper legislative process, rather than ram-rodded into place via executive action by the president."
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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