STEM Bill Passed by House

A bill that would increase visas for foreign-born, US-trained science and engineering graduates passes in the House, but is unlikely to get through Senate.

By | December 5, 2012

Wikimedia, USCISThe US House of Representatives last week (November 30) passed the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) immigration bill that will grant green cards for up to 55,000 foreign-born, US-trained graduates every year.

“In a global economy, we cannot afford to educate these foreign graduates in the U.S. and then send them back home to work for our competitors,” said Lamar Smith (R-TX), who sponsored the bill, in a statement. “This legislation will help us create jobs, increase our competitiveness, and spur our innovation.”

To level out the total number of immigrants allowed into the country each year, the legislation will also eliminate a lottery-based program to admit 50,000 people from under-represented countries. That trade-off was the reason only 26 Democrats supported this new bill when it was passed by a margin of 245 to 139 in the House just 2 months after it had been rejected under a regulation that required a two thirds majority vote. The new bill required a simple majority.

Many Democrats insist that STEM graduates should not get special treatment. “It flies in the face of our diverse American electorate to precondition STEM visas on the elimination of Diversity Visa immigrants, 50 percent of whom come from the continent of Africa,” said Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) during the debate. “Like STEM graduates, they have much to contribute to the United States.”

And although there is growing bipartisan consensus on the need to boost skilled immigration, the Democrat-controlled Senate is unlikely to support the measure. In an official statement of opposition released before this latest House vote, the White House described the bill as one of several “narrowly tailored proposals that do not meet the president's long-term objectives with respect to comprehensive immigration reform.”

(Hat tip to ScienceInsider)

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Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 212

December 5, 2012

I hope it doesn't get through the Senate.  It makes no sense at all.  There are already way too many U.S. citizen STEM graduates who can't get jobs.  Mister Smith hasn't a clue about jobs.  How will a flood of foreigners help the employment situation?  There is already a tremendous withholding of venture capital for all STEM start-ups, so innovation is already at a crawl.

Avatar of: innovation


Posts: 1

December 11, 2012

If too many people are present, they why still h1b visas are being issued and why outsourcing is not stopped by companies. if too many graduates are there then salaries should come down but not. it is better to stop diversity visas since, already u.s is bringing 60k people and sponsoring green cards on diversity sake, and bringing competition for americans (especially in mid level jobs as people coming on diversity are mostly less skilled). still how many diversity gc's and visas does u.s have to issue. Face the rules and enter u.s but, just not on sake of diversity.

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