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Public Statements

STEM Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GUTIERREZ. Thank you so much.

It might appear like we are having a debate about whether we should send STEM graduates--those with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math--to faraway lands to work for companies to compete against us, but this debate is not about that because, on the need for STEM visas, there is no debate. The real debate we are having today, in creating STEM visas, is whether to shut the door to opportunity to others who contribute to the United States of America.

I haven't seen one letter from Google, Yahoo!, Apple, Intel or the high-tech industry that says to eliminate 25,000 to 30,000 visas to those from Africa and give them to the high-tech industry. I haven't seen one letter that says that, and they know that. It's just something they want to do, and they want to poison this well with what I think is bad policy. Based on the immigrant stories we heard from almost every speaker at the Republican and Democratic conventions, I would guess all of us here would welcome to the U.S. any decent, hardworking person with enough heart and guts to pursue his biggest dreams, but that's not what this bill does. I wish it did.

Imagine if those millions who passed through Ellis Island had been given a test when they arrived. If they were gifted in science and math, they were in. If they were simply hardworking men or women in search of better lives, prepared to sweat and toil in the fields or in our factories, they wouldn't have been good enough under this bill. Think about it. Where would we all be if we had to pass that test--the Pelosis and the Palazzos, the Boehners and the Blumenauers, the Schakowskys and the Lipinksis, the Kennedys and the Kuciniches, the Romneys and--yes--the Rubios?

When my parents came from Puerto Rico, they didn't need a visa. They just had a sixth-grade education and a ninth-grade education. Under this bill, they would say, Not here and not in this America. You're not welcome. My mom worked in a factory, and my dad drove a cab, and they worked hard every day. They worked hard every day to make this. They sent their children to college, and one of them today serves in the Congress of the United States.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LaTourette). The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. CONYERS. I yield the gentleman 30 more seconds.

Mr. GUTIERREZ. They lived the story of America. They came with nothing but hopes, and they played by the rules and achieved great things, not necessarily for themselves but for their children and now their grandchildren.

Has America benefited? Could we attract the smartest and the brightest? Yes. But America is also a better Nation because we attract those with the most heart and soul to make something of themselves. Let's defeat that bill so we can continue that great American tradition.

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