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STEM Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

I thank you, because there's only one problem separating the two views that have been presented by both sides of the aisle here this afternoon. But the proposal of those on the other side, of steamrolling through today, simply does not provide for new visas for STEM graduates. Instead, it completely eliminates diversity visas, a longstanding legal immigration program. And, as surely everyone understands on both sides of the aisle, we strongly oppose a zero-sum game that trades one legal immigration program for another. I heard someone suggest that.

The elimination of the Diversity Visa Program will drastically decrease immigration from African countries. It's as simple as that. In recent years, African immigrants have comprised approximately 40 to 50 percent of the Diversity Visa Program's annual beneficiaries. And so we just say simply: That is not fair. There's no point in us having to swallow this poison pill. And I can assure you that there's no intention that that be done.

Second, the Diversity Visa Program plays an important foreign policy role for the United States. As a former Ambassador testified the year before last at a Judiciary Committee hearing:

The program engenders hope abroad for those that are all too often without it--hope for a better life, hope for reunification with family in the United States, and hope for a chance to use their God-given skills and talent.

And so I ask my colleague to please consider how we can move the STEM issue forward without eliminating the Diversity Visa Program.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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