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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    House Passes Immigration Reform, STEM Act May Head to Senate

    House Passes Immigration Reform, STEM Act May Head to Senate

    By Elizabeth Llorente
    Published November 30, 2012
    Fox News Latino



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    Washington, D.C. – In the first post-election effort to reform U.S. immigration policy, the House on Friday approved a Republican-sponsored measure, STEM Jobs Act, by a margin of 245 to 139.

    The vote fell primarily along party lines, and followed an unsuccessful, last-minute move by Democrats to push through another version of the STEM visa bill that would keep the diversity lottery, which the Republican bill eliminates. Republicans cast 218 votes in favor of their STEM bill, but only 27 Democrats did so.

    Democrats cast 134 votes against it, with only five Republicans voting “No.”

    The bill eliminates the diversity visa program and reallocates up to 55,000 new green cards – the document that establishes legal permanent U.S. residency, for foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

    In a sort of concession to Democrats, Republicans added a provision to the bill that allows spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents to come to the U.S. after waiting one year in their native homeland for their green card application to be processed. But Democrats were not persuaded, with many of them saying the family concession was not enough to compensate for the elimination of lottery visa, which they argued should not have been dropped.

    The sponsor of the bill, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, lauded the bill’s passage.

    “Many of the world’s top students come to the U.S. to obtain advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects,” he said in a statement. “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.”

    He also stressed the family component.

    “The bill puts families first, allowing the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents to come to the U.S. after waiting one year for their green cards,” Smith said. “The current green card waiting list is over two years and it has been much longer in the past. This provision will help keep families together rather than leave them miles apart while waiting to legally come to the U.S.”

    Democrats , who have expressed their objection to the measure in the last few days, continued their criticism of the bill Friday.

    “It is so disappointing [that] the majority decided to undermine an area of bipartisan agreement on STEM visas by loading up the measure with provisions that are a slap in the face to the core values of the United States,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and one of the Congress’s most vocal proponents for immigration reform policy that would provide undocumented immigrants a path to legalization.

    “If you support this bill, you are saying that one group of immigrants is better than another and one type of educated, degree-holding person and their work is more important than anothers,” Gutierrez said. “In order to give visas to those with PhD's and Masters' Degrees, Republicans make two demands. First, we take away visas and the only means of legal immigration (most likely) from 50,000 people who may not have PhD's or Master's Degrees. Talk about picking winners and losers. My dad, if he had been an immigrant from Ireland or Nigeria or Taiwan would have been told ‘Nope.’ America is not for you. It is like when we used to have signs saying ‘Help wanted, Irish need not apply.’

    Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a Washington D.C.-based group that favors more lenient immigration policies, voiced mixed feelings.

    “We are glad to see that both parties recognize the importance of immigrants and immigration to our country, but we need a more comprehensive approach that also addresses the 11 million undocumented residents currently here,” he said in a statement. “Our economy needs the skilled immigrant farmworker as well as the skilled engineer. Both parties must recognize following the election that they need to appeal to a more diverse electorate — and this bill would eliminate a legal-immigration program that promotes diversity.”

    About half of the diversity visas go to Africa nations. Democrats said this "zero sum game" on the number of visas granted was unacceptable.

    "It pains me greatly that I cannot support this bill," said Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, whose northern California district includes many high-tech companies that for years have pushed for STEM visas so that they can hire the highly trained foreign scientists and engineers who now are forced to leave the country and find jobs with U.S. competitors.

    She said the bill would eventually result in fewer visas issued because far fewer than 50,000 degrees are given every year to foreigners in eligible STEM fields, and the bill does not allow unused visas to be transferred to other programs.

    The House voted on a similar STEM Act in September, but it fell short under a procedure requiring a two-thirds majority. It is being revived under rules needing only a simple majority. Republicans are scrambling to show the Hispanic community, which largely deserted them in the recent election, that the GOP is committed to fixing the immigration system.

    Earlier this week, two Republican senators introduced their version of the DREAM Act. Their bill would allow young people brought into the country as children without authorization to stay without fear of being deported, an initiative previously opposed by most Republicans.

    The family reunification provision would benefit Latinos.

    There are some 80,000 of these family-based green cards allocated every year, but there are about 322,000 husbands, wives and children waiting in this category and on average people must wait more than two years to be reunited with their families.

    Mexico has the most people on the waiting list, with more than 138,000 people, or 43 percent of all people on the list, according to the U.S. State Department. The Dominican Republic is next, with nearly 31,000, followed by Cuba, with 16,000.

    The measure says those in the country illegally are not eligible, and family members may not work while waiting for their green cards, a point of criticism for Democrats and others opposed to the bill.

    Democrats say they support increasing STEM visas, but have voiced sharp criticism of the Republican approach.

    The STEM Act visas would be in addition to about 140,000 employment-based visas for those ranging from lower-skilled workers to college graduates and people in the arts, education and athletics.

    The Diversity Visa Lottery Program, created in 1990 partly to increase visas for Ireland, has shifted over the years to focus on former Soviet states and now Africa. In 2010, almost 25,000 visas went to Africa; 9,000 to Asia and 16,000 to Europe. Applicants must have at least a high school education.

    Critics say the visa lottery program has outlived its purpose because Africans and East Europeans are already benefiting from family unification and skilled employment visas, and the lottery program is subject to fraud and infiltration by terrorists. Lofgren said it was "preposterous" that terrorists would try to get into a country under a program that picks 55,000 people at random out of more than 14 million applicants.

    House Passes Immigration Reform, STEM ACt May Head to Senate | Fox News Latino
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 12-02-2012 at 08:25 PM.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    President Obama last week declared dead on arrival the latest effort to admit more skilled workers.

    Republicans in the House passed a bill that would expand visas for skilled workers, easing the waiting list that can be a decade or longer for technologists from populous countries such as China and India.

    Obama vs. Silicon Valley on Immigration
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    “If you support this bill, you are saying that one group of immigrants is better than another and one type of educated, degree-holding person and their work is more important than anothers,” Gutierrez said.
    Gutierrez is clearly a friggin communist. Seriously.

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Lots of articles on immigration now.

    Which party is blocking common-sense immigration reform?
    Washington Post (blog) - ‎43 minutes ago‎

    On Friday the Republican-controlled House passed a bill to increase immigration for high-skilled "STEM" (science, technology, engineering and math) workers and to also cancel the immigration lottery, in which about 55,000 visas are awarded at random to ...

    Note to GOP: The Lamar Smith Political Strategy on Immigration Has FailedHuffington Post

    STEM Act is a step backwards for immigration reformDaily Illini

    See realtime coverageSee all 6 sources »

    The Malaysian Insider

    See realtime coverage
    Immigration help for expatriates
    New Straits Times - ‎21 minutes ago

    PUTRAJAYA: THE Immigration Department is pulling out all the stops to encourage foreign talents to work and live in Malaysia by setting up an Expatriate Services Department (ESD) next year.

    Putrajaya to launch new immigration division for expatriates in Q1 next yearThe Malaysian Insider

    See all 13 sources »


    Forbes
    Can the US Create 8.8 Million Jobs By Boosting Immigrant Start-ups?
    Forbes - ‎2 hours ago‎

    If you listened to the political rhetoric before last month's presidential election, you could be forgiven for thinking that the president was personally responsible for the precise number of jobs created in the U.S.


    More immigration stories

    dream_act »


    New York Times

    See realtime coverage
    Young Immigrants Say It's Obama's Time to Act

    New York Times - ‎Dec 2, 2012‎

    There have been other banner moments this year for young people who take their name from the Dream Act, a bill before Congress that would create a formal path to citizenship for young people here illegally who came to this country as children.
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    CAPS is not supporting this bill. The number of additional immigrants entering the Untied States through chain migration would be astronomical.

    Although this bill... | Facebook

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    So how long before the republicans increase the number of visas to match the number of people who want one ?
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    immigration »





    Politico



    See realtime coverage
    Pro-immigration conservative activists plan their strategy
    Washington Post - ‎17 hours ago

    For years, pro-immigration conservative activists have tried with little success to gain an audience with top Republicans in Washington.

    Hispanic megadonors launch group for immigrationPolitico - by Anna Palmer

    United We Dream Releases Its Immigration Reform PlatformABC News

    Opinion:'Immigration reform' is just the beginningBaltimore Sun

    See all 43 sources »


    WBEZ (blog)



    See realtime coverage
    GOP tries immigration sleight of hand with new visa bill
    WBEZ (blog) - ‎2 hours ago

    You may have noticed that post-election the GOP seems to be going out its the way to recast itself with Latinos, particularly around immigration issues. But the keyword here is seems. Last Friday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives ...

    Comprehensive immigration plan is national priorityThe Tand D.com

    STEM Jobs Act: Next Step for High-Skilled Immigration ReformHeritage.org

    See all 19 sources »

    President Bush leads immigration forum
    Washington Post - ‎37 minutes ago‎

    Former President George W. Bush gave opening remarks at a immigration conference in Dallas on the benefits of immigrants to the U.S. Economy. Associated Press. Correction: Clarification: RELATED. The FOLD · E-mail · Save/Share · Embed · Comments ...

    See realtime coverageSee all 14 sources »

    More immigration stories

    dream_act »


    New York Times



    See realtime coverage
    United We Dream: We Won't Settle For Just The Dream Act
    Huffington Post
    21 hours ago
    Written by
    Elise Foley
    WASHINGTON -- Nearly 600 would-be Dream Act beneficiaries and their allies, who helped in a successful push earlier this year for relief for undocumented young people, gathered in Kansas City, Mo.

    Senators propose alternative to DREAM Act for young immigrantsArizona Daily Wildcat

    Young Immigrants Say It's Obama's Time to ActNew York Times

    See all 9 sources »

    More dream_act stories
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    Which party is blocking common-sense immigration reform?

    Which party is blocking common-sense immigration reform?

    By Jennifer Rubin


    National Guard troops scan the Mexican border.

    On Friday the Republican-controlled House passed a bill to increase immigration for high-skilled "STEM" (science, technology, engineering and math) workers and to also cancel the immigration lottery, in which about 55,000 visas are awarded at random to among the millions who apply.

    Democrats opposed the bill even though Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, added a provision intended to allow family members of immigrants to wait in the United States while they await green cards.

    House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) explained the legislation on the House floor:

    Moreover, Democrats in the Senate have signaled to Republican leadership that STEM legislation is a non-starter. So what is going on here?

    Cynics would say that Democrats want no progress on immigration reform so they can continue to paint Republicans as anti-immigrant. A more charitable explanation would be that Democrats don't want to "give" Republicans a win on this reform, no matter what the merits, because it lessens their bargaining leverage for comprehensive immigration reform.

    This also highlights the fundamental difference between the parties in how they see immgration. The Washington Times reported:
    We want to put to the head of the line the people who, every single one of them that comes, net creates jobs," said Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, who managed the bill on the House floor.
    Democrats, though, objected to making immigration a zero-sum equation, where any new visas would have to come at the expense of existing lines of immigration.
    "I can't support a bill that pits immigrant communities against each other," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the ranking Democrat on the House immigration subcommittee.

    Crazy, huh, that we should prefer highly skilled immigrants who could help our economy? It's hard to escape the conclusion that Democrats are pandering to the lowest common denominator, pushing a view that it makes no difference who comes into the country (a position they know Republicans reject).

    It is reasonable to conclude that the only way to move this issue ahead and for Republicans to gain some political mileage is to put forth their own bill with provisions that deal with border control, work-site enforcement, STEM visas and the millions of illegal immigrants already here, which the United States has no intention of deporting. But who will take the lead, and will he or she be savaged by the exclusionists in the GOP (and Big Labor, which doesn't want workplace competition)? We'll find out next year.

    Which party is blocking common-sense immigration reform? - Right Turn - The Washington Post
    U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!

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