U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson today praised his colleagues for passage of the STEM Jobs Act, of which he was a cosponsor.
"The immigration debate in this country is far from over but this is a less visible, but no less important reform that most people can agree on, which is good for immigrants and good for America," Rep. Johnson said.
The STEM Jobs Act reforms immigration policies to make it easier for companies to hire foreign students with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math -- skills for which U.S. companies are desperate.
"In the course of this debate, it came out that Microsoft has more than 6,000 job openings for qualified STEM employees," Rep. Johnson said. "Foreign students now aren't able to get the visas they need to stay in this country and fill those jobs. This stifles their future and the future of American enterprise and capitalism. My office in particular, being based in Champaign-Urbana, works daily with skilled University of Illinois graduates, post-doctorates and scholars from around the world hoping to find a way to stay here and work.
"I'm very enthusiastic about this and urge the Senate to follow through quickly. We are a nation built on the skills and drive of immigrants. And while we continue to have a generous immigration policy overall, this reform will direct visas formerly distributed at random through a lottery to the highly skilled foreign graduates. The potential benefits are enormous."