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Public Statements

STEM Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this STEM Jobs Act. Clearly, the focus on this provision is to try to bring people with skills here to the United States.

Graduates of American universities in science and in technology and engineering and math, these STEM fields, are, frankly, behind many of the innovations, many of the new businesses that are part of our present and future economic growth. If we want to look at jobs, this is where those new patents, those new ideas will come from that help create jobs. So we have talented students from around the world that contribute to the graduate STEM programs of our universities.

We are trying to focus on a way to make sure our immigration system here puts our interests first as a country.

We have the most generous level of legal immigration in the world, but when you think about it, we select only 5 percent of our immigrants based on the skills and education that they bring to America. Clearly, what we're trying to do is to make certain that these foreign graduates of U.S. universities in the STEM fields, because they're in such great demand here, many of them of course end up on years-long green card waiting lists and, as a result, many of them give up and go to work for one of our global competitors. So our focus is: What can we do to accelerate this?

This bill alters our current immigration system to encourage job creation by increasing the proportion of new entrants with high levels of education, with high levels of skills.

We know that skilled immigrants contribute mightily to the rising U.S. standard of living. They bring capital, as I say, they bring new ideas, and they produce new companies here. So, with this bill we can help grow innovation and we can create the jobs in this country. We've got plenty of examples, frankly, in California of IT firms that are founded by immigrants from China and from India that were educated here in our institutions.

This legislation also contains a family reunification provision, which allows graduates' spouses and children to live in the U.S. while waiting for their green card application to be processed.

One of the things that seems pretty clear to me is that, because we roll over the green cards every year for the next 4 years to make sure that they all are used, that, in point of fact, we believe that more of them will be used than under the Diversity lottery where they're not rolled over. So I think it's quite the opposite. I think we, in fact, focus here on exactly the type of skilled immigration that's most likely to create jobs here in the United States.

So I would urge my colleagues to support this bill in order to help our economy grow.


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