UC Berkeley Web Feature
Chancellor Birgeneau calls for 'clear paths to permanent residency and employment'
BERKELEY – UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau, who was born in Canada and came to the United States for his graduate education, issued the following statement today (April 10, 2006):
"Our great nation is largely a country of immigrants, beginning with the first colonialists who settled our Eastern shores to those who opened up the Western frontier. Together with our Native Peoples who first occupied this great land, they have made this country their home. Today's frontiers are knowledge and education. It is critical that as a university we provide support to all those who make up this vast and wonderful country.
"Traditionally, immigrants provide enlightening new perspectives and a great spirit of innovation. Immigrants are essential to our prosperity. I myself am very grateful to the United States for accommodating me in this great country. As a foreign national, I was able to receive a green card straightforwardly after completing my Ph.D. at Yale. This allowed me to pursue a career as a research scientist at Bell Labs, as dean of science at MIT, and now as chancellor of UC Berkeley. Our country can only benefit by welcoming international talent. Foreign students enhance the research and education that we provide. Our immigration policies should welcome the best and brightest people from around the world and give them clear paths to permanent residency and employment.
"Many immigrants have come to this wonderful country, driven by desperation. They have become part of the great tapestry of humanity that makes up our nation. We must not ignore their plight and we must treat them humanely.
"Our Senate representatives in California and the federal government as a whole must work to find a way that treats immigrants, no matter what their status, with the tradition of compassion, tolerance and liberty that has made the United States the greatest nation in the world."