House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and nearly 50 Members of Congress today introduced bipartisan legislation to help the United States boost job creation, grow our economy, and remain globally competitive by increasing green cards for talented foreign graduates of American universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429) eliminates the diversity visa lottery and reallocates up to 55,000 green cards a year to the top foreign graduates of U.S. universities with STEM doctorates. Any remaining green cards are then made available to foreign graduates with master's degrees in STEM fields. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the STEM Jobs Act this Thursday. Chairman Smith and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), an original cosponsor of the STEM Jobs Act, released the following statements on the bill's introduction.
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 be to 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."
Rep. Cuellar: "It is advantageous for the United States to retain the world's finest in the STEM community to be able to be globally competitive in the workforce. The STEM Jobs Act gives an opportunity to foreign students who have acquired an advanced degree in the fields of science, math, and engineering to stay in the United States and exercise their professions, create jobs and spur economic growth domestically. In order to be competitive in today's global economy we have to provide immigrant students with this type of aid. The need for STEM professionals is expected to grow by 50% over the decade, according to the Labor Department, so we must be ready to fill those jobs with the best in the field. The STEM Jobs Act ensures that America can retain those we educate and enables us to compete on a global scale with those in STEM-related industries to create more opportunity and innovation for our nation's future."
Original cosponsors of H.R. 6429 include Reps. Bob Goodlatte, (R-Va.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), David Dreier (R-Calif.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), Steve Chabot (R- Ohio), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Sam Johnson (R-Texas), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), Wally Herger (R-Calif.), Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.), Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), Kay Granger (R-Texas), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Carter (R-Texas), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Michael Conaway (R-Texas), Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.), Renee Elmers (R-N.C.), Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), and Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.).
A summary of the STEM Jobs Act can be found at http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/STEM/Fact%20Sheet%20STEM%20Bill.pdf
To read the bill, visit http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/STEM/STEM%20Jobs%20Act.pdf