Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry, one of the signers of the letter, said his university has students from more than 50 countries. They tend to be “very fine” students, he said, and many are pursuing degrees in areas the state needs.
Many of those students want to stay in the U.S. to work after graduation, he said, but they often can't because of visa issues. If those students had the chance to stay in the country after graduation, Oklahoma could reap economic benefits, he said.
“This is not a partisan issue, by any means,” he said.
Oklahoma's higher education leaders weren't alone in that sentiment. Eight presidents from Utah universities and 19 Florida college and university chiefs released similar letters Thursday.
In July, heads of 90 Catholic universities released an open letter calling on all Catholic members of Congress to reach a compromise on the immigration issue.