STEM Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:  Bob Goodlatte
Date: Sept. 20, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Texas, the chairman of the committee, for his fine work on this legislation, and I rise in support of it.

You know, this House has twice passed through the entire House legislation eliminating the visa lottery program--55,000 visas, not given based upon family reunification needs, not given based upon job shortages in the United States, but based upon pure luck. And it's unfair to people from more than a dozen countries around the world that stand in long lines, on waiting lists, and then watch somebody have their name drawn out of a computer at random, with no particular job skills, no ties in this country, and they get to go right past them into a green card in the United States.

So, if you're from Mexico, you're not eligible for the visa lottery program. If you're from Canada, you're not eligible for the visa lottery program. If you're from China or India or the Philippines or from more than a dozen countries, you are not eligible for this program at all.

Let me just say that far more people with far greater contributions to make to our economy, to our system, will benefit from using those visas for STEM--for science, for technology, for engineering, and math. In fact, most African immigrants to the U.S. do not come through the diversity program, and many will benefit from a STEM visa program. There are more than 3,000 students from Nigeria alone who are studying in STEM fields in the United States. They will be able to stay in the U.S. because of the STEM Jobs Act.

This is a good proposal that is fair to people who want to come to this country to better their lives for themselves but to also help the United States in these difficult economic times find people who are needed here or who have legitimate family reunification needs, not simply based on pure luck. Our immigration system is in need of more reform than this, but this is great reform, and I urge my colleagues to pass this legislation.

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