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Public Statements

STEM Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LABRADOR. I rise today in support of the STEM Jobs Act of 2012. This bill addresses one of the bipartisan issues we ought to be able to solve here in the House of Representatives.

Both President Obama and Governor Romney have spoken about the need to reform our immigration system in order to keep more of the best and the brightest minds in America. I am very pleased to have worked with Chairman Smith on this bill, and I want to thank him for his leadership. I also want to thank Mr. Goodlatte and the majority leader for their commitment to bringing this jobs bill to the floor.

The future of our economy is in the STEM fields. New printers from Hewlett-Packard, new semiconductors from Micron, and new phones from Apple all rely on retaining the world's best and brightest students and on harnessing their ingenuity to create jobs here in America. Even in an economic downturn, there aren't enough U.S.-born graduates to meet the needs of high-tech employers. Right now, foreign-born students are benefiting from our education system and are then going home to compete with us.

This legislation allows us to retain their skills and innovation. We know that every American with an advanced STEM degree creates two to three new American jobs. We are replacing a broken, inefficient visa program with one that works, rewards innovation, and makes jobs for our economy.

Mr. Speaker, I heard the other side talk about this bill all day today. This other side controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency for 2 years and did nothing to improve the immigration system. They didn't pass immigration bills, yet the President campaigns on the issue of immigration reform. Once again, faced with actually passing a bill that improves the immigration system, they're making a stand against immigration reform and against economic growth.

Let me clarify one thing. I have a great deal of respect for Congresswoman Lofgren. She and I have talked about this issue for the entire 1 1/2 to 2 years that I've been here in Congress, and I recognize that she's been a leader on this issue over the years. I'm also an immigration attorney. I've been an immigration attorney for 15 years. I must clarify that unused diversity visas have never rolled over, and to oppose this bill on those grounds is just proof that this is more about politics than policy.

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