House Approves STEM Legislation

Statement

By:  Lamar Smith
Date: Nov. 30, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

The House of Representatives today approved the STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429) by a vote of 245-139. This bill eliminates the diversity visa program and reallocates up to 55,000 new green cards to the most highly qualified foreign graduates of American universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. The bill also contains a provision to put families first, allowing the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents to come to the U.S. after waiting one year for their green cards. Chairman Smith praised today's vote in the statement below.

Chairman Smith: "Many of the world's top students come to the U.S. to obtain advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. We could boost economic growth and spur job creation by allowing American employers to more easily hire some of the most qualified foreign graduates of U.S. universities. These students have the ability to start a company that creates jobs or come up with an invention that could jump-start a whole new industry.

"In a global economy, we cannot afford to educate these foreign graduates in the U.S. and then send them back home to work for our competitors. For America to remain the world's economic leader, we must have access to the world's best talent. The STEM Jobs Act makes our immigration system smarter by eliminating the diversity visa program and reallocating up to 55,000 new green cards to the best foreign graduates with advanced degrees in STEM fields. This legislation will help us create jobs, increase our competitiveness, and spur our innovation.

"Changes have been made to the bill that will improve our immigration system. The bill puts families first, allowing the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents to come to the U.S. after waiting one year for their green cards. The current green card waiting list is over two years and it has been much longer in the past. This provision will help keep families together rather than leave them miles apart while waiting to legally come to the U.S."