Via The House Committee on the Judiciary
“Graduates of American universities in science, technology, engineering, and math – or “STEM” fields – are behind many of the innovations and new businesses that are part of our present and future economic growth. Talented students from around the world contribute to the graduate STEM programs of our universities. Foreign students receive nearly four out of every 10 master’s degrees awarded in STEM fields and about the same percentage of all doctorates.
But our immigration system does not always put American interests first. We have the most generous level of legal immigration in the world but we select only 5% of our immigrants based on the skills and education they bring to America. Although these foreign graduates of U.S. universities in STEM fields are in great demand by American employers, many of them end up on years-long green card waiting lists. And as a result, many of them give up and go to work for one of our global competitors.
In an ever-competitive global economy, we must keep our country as the world’s greatest source of innovation and creativity. The STEM Jobs Act allows employers to fill their talent needs with foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in STEM so that they can continue creating jobs and growing our economy.”
Smith: Senate Democrats Block Jobs Bill
Washington, D.C. – Senate Republicans today asked that the STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429) be brought up and passed by Unanimous Consent but Senate Democrats blocked the bill’s consideration. The STEM Jobs Act eliminates the diversity visa program and reallocates up to 55,000 new green cards to the most highly qualified foreign graduates of American universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. The bill also contains a provision to put families first, allowing the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents to come to the U.S. after waiting one year for their green cards. Last week, the House of Representatives today approved the STEM Jobs Act by a vote of 245-139.
Controversial STEM Jobs Act Proposes to transfer 55,000 visas from Diversity Visa Lottery to Masters and Ph.D. Graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
The controversial H.R. 6429, otherwise known as the “STEM Jobs Act” (Rep. Smith, R-TX & 68 cosponsors) proposes to create new “V” visa categories for families awaiting reunification as well as visas for Ph.D and Masters graduates in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The Act would, however, eliminate the (poorly implemented) Diversity Visa Lottery program that makes green cards available to certain individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The STEM Jobs Act has made it through the House, but will be almost certainly defeated in the Senate, where Democrats hold both a majority and a soft spot for the Lottery.
The White House, despite having repeatedly highlighted the substantial deficiency the nation faces in the STEM fields, has quickly declared its opposition to the STEM Jobs Act, indicating that it “does not support narrowly tailored proposals that do not meet the President’s long-term objectives with respect to comprehensive immigration reform.” In other words, the Administration wants immigration reform on an ‘all or nothing’ basis. This is more than a little puzzling given that during the latest election cycle, President Obama repeatedly raised the issue of the many difficult decisions necessitated in the short-term so as to invigorate the U.S. economy. This is not one of those difficult decisions.