U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita issued the following statement after the House yesterday failed to pass the STEM Jobs Act, which would have offered 55,000 visas per year to skilled immigrants with advanced degrees from certain U.S. universities in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The measure received 257 "aye" votes, short of the two-thirds of present and voting House members that were required for passage under suspension of the rules.
"There is bipartisan agreement on the need for STEM visas, and this bill would have been a meaningful and sensible step to promote the legal immigration that our country needs. I hear from business leaders in Indiana all the time about the constant demand for high-skilled workers in the STEM fields, such as our medical device industry. Through our state universities like Purdue, Hoosier taxpayers invest significant resources in educating the best and brightest students from other countries, only to see them return overseas after they graduate. We need to keep these graduates here so that Indiana and the rest of the country can benefit from their talents.
"I'm going to keep working on this issue because I think we can and should find bipartisan agreement on it," said Rokita.
The STEM Jobs Act would have ended the diversity lottery green card program and allocated as many as 55,000 green cards per year to eligible foreign graduates with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. The green cards would have been first made available to foreign graduates with doctorates, and then to foreign graduates with master's degrees.