Today Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard hailed the outcome of a House of Representatives' vote rejecting a Republican visa reform bill, HR 6429, the STEM Jobs Act. Republicans leaders had previously rebuffed Democratic efforts to negotiate a compromise measure, deciding instead to push forward with a misguided plan that had no chance of becoming law.
While the Republican proposal would have created new visas for foreign graduates in the STEM fields, it would also have eliminated the Diversity Visa program, which provides for a diverse flow of legal immigrants by making visas available to countries that contribute relatively small numbers of people to the United States.
"Once again, the Republican majority is shunning dialogue and compromise in favor of unnecessary gridlock and pointless partisanship," said Rep. Roybal-Allard. "Instead of negotiating a fair deal to enable more STEM graduates to remain in the U.S.--a goal we all share--Republicans decided to rush ahead with their own plan, which the House wisely rejected."
"Members on both sides of the aisle agree that we should allow talented, ambitious young people educated at our best colleges and universities to remain in this country and put their skills to work here creating new businesses and new jobs. But we don't need to eliminate the Diversity Visa Program to make these additional green cards available. We don't have to hurt one group of immigrants to help another."
"I call on the Republican leadership to set aside this wrongheaded, zero-sum approach to our immigration challenges and work with Democrats to craft smart, comprehensive visa reform legislation that serves the best interests of immigrants, employers and American workers."
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard is an original co-sponsor of the Democratic alternative, HR 6412, the Attracting the Best and Brightest Act. Unlike the defeated Republican bill, HR 6412 includes strong wage protections for STEM students and would also help to shield children and families from the adverse consequences of visa processing delays.