Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL-4) issued the following statement reacting to the news that Republicans, including Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (TX), hope to have a vote next week on a bill increasing visas for STEM graduates, those who receive degrees in science, technology, engineering or math at U.S. universities. The Republican proposal, as Rep. Gutierrez understands it, would reduce or eliminate other legal immigration programs in order to increase STEM visas. Rep. Gutierrez is one of the Congress' most visible supporters of legal immigration and immigration reform and is the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Immigration. Gutierrez statement:
I would like to negotiate on increasing STEM visas, by as much as 50,000, as well as family visas and I have been talking to Republicans, including Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, to see if we can reach a deal. I hope we can.
I would like to improve the STEM visa program without doing damage to other parts of our legal immigration system. The President has made this a priority and I am prepared to support a clean STEM increase because it will help our economy and create jobs. Republicans are only willing to increase legal immigration for immigrants they want by eliminating legal immigration for immigrants they don't want.
STEM visas have a lot of merit and we should increase them. I am almost always willing to support legal immigration. Republicans almost always oppose immigration, even when it is legal, which has hurt them.