Bill Walton asks lawmakers to combat piracy and fund science and math education

Walton stressed the need to improve science and math education and said China is currently graduating 500,000 engineers every year, in comparison to 150,000 in the U.S.

"By sheer numbers alone they’re going to overwhelm us. Even if we do everything we possibly can, it's still going to take quite a while to get our young children up to a level where they can compete on an international level," Walton said. 

"We have let our children down. We have not provided them with the same chance, the same opportunities that we were given by our parents."

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He also questioned the logic of not allowing foreign graduate students studying in those fields at American universities to remain in the country if they are able to find a job.

"Just imagine, if you would, the [Los Angeles] Lakers not having [All-Star power forward] Pau Gasol because he couldn’t get a visa," Walton said. "We need home-grown talent, but that’s going to require incredible commitment to education at the political level to develop science, technology engineering, and mathematics."

Walton specifically spoke out in favor of two bills: the STAPLE Act introduced by Rep. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Ariz.) and the StartUp Visa Act introduced by Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden pledges carbon-free power by 2035 in T environment plan | Trump administration has been underestimating costs of carbon pollution, government watchdog finds | Trump to move forward with rollback of bedrock environmental law Biden campaign adopts carbon-free power by 2035 in T environment plan  We haven't seen how low it can go MORE (D-Mass.).

The first would allow foreign students that have earned a Ph.D. from an American university in a field related to science, math or engineering to stay in the country if they have found employment. The second bill would allow foreign-born entrepreneurs to immigrate if backed by angel or venture capital investors.