After being defeated in September, The STEM Jobs Act, is poised to make a return to the House floor. Sponsor Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced the original, H.R. 6429, and the bill failed to win a 2/3 majority to pass under suspended rules voting.
STEM refers to U.S. graduates with science, technology, engineering, and math degrees. These are known as the ‘hard’ sciences. A Georgetown University Report from last year found:
“STEM occupations will grow far more quickly than the economy as a whole (17% versus 10%), and will be the second-fastest growing occupational cluster, after Healthcare occupations.”
In an attempt to help fill the emerging job gap, the bill “eliminates the diversity lottery green card program and reallocates up to 55,000 green cards a year to new green card programs for foreign graduates of US universities with advanced STEM degrees.”
Democrat and Tri-caucus opposition that voted down the bill in September cited concerns over eliminating the lottery system. The ‘Diversity Immigrant Visa Program’ currently uses a random selection process to award green cards to individuals haling from countries with lower rates of immigration. Eliminating the random lottery would likely affect African countries disproportionately.
Zoe Lofgren (D-California) introduced a competing bill, H.R.6412, also known as the “Attracting the Best and Brightest Act of 2012,” in October to compete with Smith’s. Lofgren’s bill keeps the lottery program in place and also makes up to “50,000 visas available to qualified immigrants.” It is more likely to pass the Senate but faces an uphill battle in the House. Lofgren voiced her concerns of Smith’s bill on the House floor when it was first introduced
“First, although this bill ostensibly seeks to increase STEM visas, it appears to have another, in my opinion, more sinister purpose—to actually reduce legal immigration levels… On its face, the bill eliminates as many visas as it creates by killing the diversity visa program, which benefits immigrants from countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States. But the bill also discreetly ensures that many of the new visas will go unused by preventing unused visas after 2014 from flowing to other immigrants stuck in decades-long backlogs.”
Smith denies claims that his bill would reduce immigration and commented on the lottery program in a New York Times op-ed:
“former State Department officials and the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office have found the lottery an open invitation to fraud and a jackpot for terrorists.”
He is likely referring to a September 2012 report by the Government Accountability Office on border security. The report indicated that ‘visa facilitators’ have abused the free lottery system by charging exorbitant fees and withholding petitioner information.
In order to facilitate STEM-related immigration, compromise on the Immigrant Diversity Program will likely be necessary. The goals of reducing abuse while encouraging STEM-educated immigrants to bolster America’s global economic competitiveness are not easily achieved. Both Republicans and Democrats see the importance of STEM-related professionals to economic progress, but are at odds on the appropriate execution.
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Pay off my student loans, for crying out loud. My parents and my parent's parents were born in America- where's my passport to financial freedom?
Or WORSE yet, gov't "jobs" where ppl are paid to stand around & do nothing for 10 years, then get a pension?
Are these REAL jobs, or "guest worker (sweat shop)" slavery so the cabal can get richer while making themselves look good?
Gerry Feldman - people are coming to this country for HANDOUTS now, not jobs. More spiritualistic/socialistic altruism paid for by more debt, so Khazakh-Papist cabal idiots can "feeeeeel" good/buy their way into heaven is NOT the answer.
The "give the jobs to citizens first" crowd doesn't understand the problem. The United States isn't graduating enough citizens with STEM Masters and PhDs. Once you stop looking at everyone that is a shade of brown as your enemy that is trying to bomb a building or "steal your job", you'll be amazed at how much more informed you can become.
Open borders built this country. I don't think we would be any better off if fewer people had been let in. I'm not sure why you say it is going to end badly. This is the land of opportunity, and if everyone is given equal opportunity, it does end well.
Gerry the immigration from the south is forced for corporate advantage .. it will end badly for everyone... sorry truth hurts .. See NAFTA, CAFTA, and WTO .. look behind the curtain.
Unless you are a native american, your ancestors were immigrants. My father was an immigrant. This country was built by immigrants, for immigrants. We can either keep building, or close the borders and stagnate.
Jobs are created when there is a greater demand for things. More consumers means more jobs. Immigrants will tend to take the jobs that nobody wants to do, leaving the higher-paying jobs for the rest of us. Higher pay leads to more consumption, which leads to more jobs.
If we had a consumption tax instead of an income tax, more consumers would mean more revenue, and we could open the borders.
Having Friends who have gone through the process legally, have now been waiting 11 years, been approved for 3 years but still waiting for their Green Cards to become available . I will be really upset to see Green Cards handed out to anyone who has not had to wait as long as these Folks. Seems to me you do things honestly and you end up being ignored or put at the back of the Line constantly and forget getting your Representatives to help.
I would prefer legal immigrants, who are highly educated, and more likely to support themselves, over illegal immigrants who give nothing and take a lot, as far as taxes and services...
If we didn't live in a welfare state, I wouldn't care who comes or goes. Yet, the world as it is borders and immigration status is crucial for our economy.
With that said, I know the Repubs are eager to improve their image on this issue, and I foresee something along these lines as a good start...
Because foreign workers are exactly what the U.S. needs what with half the country being under or unemployed. Wake up. We don't have jobs for our OWN citizens. Pink slip the foreigers and send them back home and stop letting in new foreigners to take our jobs.
Seems to me that the GOP is trying to gain favor with immigrants with this bill, but in doing so, it appears that they are trying to copy the Democrats, who already pander to minorities/immigrants like crazy. I suppose some in the GOP are still a bit shell-shocked after the loss to Obama and believe that currying favor with immigrants is the best way to expand their base. However, this is dangerous because they are essentially trying to be Democrat-lite here instead of outlining real, clear-cut differences between them and the Dems.
A good point Sean. As i mentioned, there's a growing gap between domestic highly-educated STEM professionals and the job market demand. Offering a passage for immigrants to fill these otherwise vacant highly-skilled jobs would end up reducing America's global economic competitiveness.