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STEM Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I'm most grateful. Thank you very much.

To the Speaker and to my colleague from Texas, this is the perfect infrastructure for collaboration and bipartisanship. We have worked together on this issue, and we have confronted the issue that I mentioned to Congresswoman Lofgren on which we will continue to work, which is to ensure the outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Hispanic-serving colleges for the engineers and scientists who are prepared to work in America's technology industry, and I expect that that will happen. I am supportive of STEM visas to provide for the infrastructure of workers for the dynamic technology, Silicon Valley software, Austin, Texas, and beyond to be able to be vibrant and thriving.

But as I just left the President of Malawi, a woman who has inspired Malawians to look to the future, and as they look to the future, we have said that we want to ensure that America has a future with the continent. To remove the diversity visas that create diversity, to take away opportunities from a continent that, by and large, has been an ally and friend to the United States, whose African citizens have come to be reunited with families, who have generated outstanding businesses, from South Africans, to Kenyans, to Guineans, to those from Cote d'Ivoire and those from Nigeria--in my town, Nigerians have created the most successful brand of small businesses from being seamstresses to doctors and lawyers and others.

I cannot vote for a bill that will allow us to remove the component for diversity visas as an exchange or substitute for this kind of approach. We must have balanced and comprehensive immigration reform.


Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. If we pass the American Jobs Act, we will help Hispanic youngsters, Anglo youngsters, African American youngsters, and all Americans.

However, what an insult to America's values to suggest that those who come to this country to give by way of a legal process, diversity visas, are not contributing. I do not want to insult anyone who comes with the idea of helping America. That means wherever they've come from: Africa, Iran, elsewhere.

If they come for a good reason through the diversity visa to reunite with their family, that is the American way. Immigration by law, that is the American way.


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