View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


SCV Raw: From Congressman "Buck" McKeon's office

STEM Jobs Act Passes in House Of Representatives

Posted: November 30, 2012 9:17 a.m.
Updated: November 30, 2012 9:17 a.m.

Yesterday the House passed the STEM Jobs Act, legislation that would end the current Diversity Green Card Program and reallocate 55,000 visas to foreign graduates of U.S. universities who have earned doctoral and master's degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Currently, The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes 50,000 diversity visas available annually, drawn from a random selection among entries of individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The random lottery of the Diversity Green Card Program unfortunately leads to high-achieving foreign graduates being kept out of our workforce. Even after foreign graduates have earned masters and doctoral degrees from top U.S. universities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, where high-skilled workers are desperately needed here at home, they are frequently forced to leave the country and go work for our global competitors. It's important that when the world's best scientists and engineers come to the U.S. to study, we welcome them to stay in the country and work for American companies, rather than send them away to work against us. Many of these graduates will be behind the innovations and new businesses that are necessary for our economic growth. This will help us maintain our competitive edge in the years to come and will preserve America's place in the world as the leader in innovation. I was proud to co-sponsor this legislation. I hope that you will learn more about the STEM Jobs Act in this piece by House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor:

An innovative, thriving economy depends on diversity


The lessons taken from this month's election may vary, but the one thing we all agree on is that getting our economy moving again must be our top priority. We have an opportunity to come together to bring high-skilled immigrants into our workforce and boost economic growth, and to reunite families.

Friday, the House will vote on the STEM Jobs Act, a bill introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, that will award 55,000 visas to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with doctoral and master's degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Entrepreneurship and job creation won't kick into high gear until businesses have the workers they need to drive growth and innovation, and immigrants have always been a key part of the equation. Unfortunately, current immigration laws keep foreign-born workers out of America, even after they have earned master's and doctoral degrees from U.S. universities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, where high-skilled workers are desperately needed.

American employers understand that their success - and the success of our economy - depends on a highly skilled, diverse workforce made up of the best and brightest from around the world. In 2006, immigrants filed over a quarter of the total patent applications in the United States.

At major American companies like Qualcomm, Merck, GE and Cisco, immigrants contributed to as many as 72 percent of the patents filed, giving those businesses a competitive edge, helping them expand and create jobs here at home.

While immigrants represent just 13 percent of the population, last year they were responsible for launching 28 percent of all new businesses. By some counts, one-quarter of all STEM-focused companies in the United States count at least one immigrant as a founder. The notion that we would educate talent like this in our best universities and then send those graduates back home to compete against us makes no sense, especially in this economy.

I hear from employers all the time who want to hire workers in the STEM fields, but can't find enough qualified candidates in the United States. Worse, our immigration system prevents those employers from hiring qualified foreign graduates who were educated in America and want to stay here. As a result, companies are facing a dearth of talent. Highly skilled, highly educated workers will succeed wherever they go. We must act to keep these workers in America where they can drive innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation, and help build a stronger economy.

Another issue facing the American immigrant workforce is that families are being separated by the backlog in our immigration system. More than 300,000 family members of lawful permanent residents are waiting on lists to join their spouses or parents in America. This bill keeps families together by allowing husbands, wives and minor children of immigrant workers to wait with their families in the U.S. for their own green cards.

There is a lot of work to be done to reform our country's immigration system, and not all of it will be easy. We can work together to enact the bipartisan STEM Jobs Act to ensure the world's top talent can stay and work in America, and that families can stay together.

Note: The Signal delivers press releases from reliable sources under the “SCV Raw” header to provide direct-from-the-source information to our website readers. Information designated SCV Raw has not been vetted by The Signal news room. It may appear subsequently in news stories after it has been vetted.




Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...