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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

STEM Bill Passes Key Procedural Hurdle in House

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A bill which would scrap the green card lottery and grant green cards to certain science, technology, engineering and math professionals who have received advanced degrees from US institutions won a crucial vote on the House floor today. By a margin of 243 -170, Republicans, joined by ten Democrats, voted to allow the bill to come up for debate and a final vote tomorrow where it is expected to pass by a similar margin.

The bill would provide certain STEM professionals (a number, including cancer researchers and medical dotors are excluded) with green card quota numbers pulled from the would be scrapped green card lottery. Spouses and children would not get green cards except that they could get a non-immigrant visa to be in the US and then eventually the STEM spouse or parent could file for permanent residency for them through the family categories. Those spouses and children would not have the authority to work while waiting.

Democrats and the White House have opposed the bill because it won't increase green card numbers overall and because they want to include STEM legislation in a comprehensive reform bill. That's why most observers believe the bill will not move on the Senate side.

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  1. voteCIR's Avatar
    How bizarre that wife and kids still remain on non immigrant status for 5-7yrs! Sure fire way to keep best and brightest in the country. Who comes up with such proposals?
  2. LegalAwaiting's Avatar
    This is a waste of everybody's time. If they were serious, they would allow spouses and children to be granted permanent residency and keep the Diversity Lottery. Democrats will never allow it to be scrapped. Plus Obama said he's against it. This is to score political points and claim they support Legal Immigration. Yes, maybe you do but your proposals are not practical. Enough already.
  3. Bill's Avatar
    The description of the bill is inaccurate. Existing spouses and children of the STEM workers would get immigrant visas like any other derivatives. The description is confusing the separate provision allowing after-acquired spouses and children of LPRs who are beneficiaries of family-based petitions to come on V visas with the rest of the bill, dealing with the new STEM EB-6/EB-7 provision.
  4. venkata's Avatar
    Waiting people cannot work ....H4 people can work....Economy is bad lot of layoffs looks like big mess.

    How its going to help undocumented students.What is the level
    of education is required.If some one passed any STEM course credits whether they will be allowed to apply for VISA....its all not included.
  5. George Chell's Avatar
    Economy bad or not, the best qualified should get the job. Americans cannot have it both ways...when it comes to Affirmative Action, the best qualified (white people) get the best paying jobs, and when it comes to nationality, US national (read that white people) get the best paying jobs. It is either you are for meritocracy or you are not...and let us not forget that foreign corporations are the ones creating jobs in the country...not the *****ies or the Koch is the Fiats and Huaweis...beggars cannot be choosers!
  6. George Chell's Avatar
    And one more thing...the least tech progress is being made in a field where there are very few foreigners or even minority Americans...that field is agriculture...and that should tell you something!
  7. ABC's Avatar
    I still do not understand what political points are they trying to score. Any legal educated non-immigrant knows that this is a complete of waste of time especially with no provisions for spouses to work while waiting. I do not understand how such stupid bills are even written in the first place. It is a clear disrespect to educated people who in their sleep can tell that this is all BS.
    If both sides really care about a STEM bill, just pass the bill with added 50K visa. Pick up another bill if you want to remove diversity lottery and fight on it as long you want. Every year there is some bill or the other and there is always, I mean always a catch. And people say there is bipartisan support on a particular topic. Waste of time and public tax dollars!
  8. voteCIR's Avatar
    "I still do not understand what political points are they trying to score. "

    It is called appeasing to your donors.
  9. George Chell's Avatar
    Just a circus before this session of congress ends.
  10. Jack's Avatar
    "This bill is premised on the dangerous thought that immigration is a zero-sum game," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

    The idea of letting in a few more STEM's vs. a lottery with no net change in the immigration level is a "dangerous thought"? I get that she's an extremist and for as high of an immigration level as possible, but to say merely tweaking the mix is "dangerous" is to poison the debate. You can't even think it!
  11. Limbo's Avatar
    "This bill is premised on the dangerous thought that immigration is a zero-sum game," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

    Ha Ha, what a hypocrite. She was one of the biggest boosters of HR3012, the most ugly zero sum bill ever brought into congress.
  12. Amused's Avatar
    Limbo: Actually 3012 is Lamar Smith's bill, through and through. That is the same person behind this bill. Get your facts straight. I know it's hard, hatred and pure self interest cloud visions after all

    Jack: This is all a game right now. None of them mean what they are saying. Smith knew this bill would go nowhere, if he wanted he could have negotiated it, but he chose to make his own statement, as drama not action. The Dems are actually quite willing for this trade, but they needed their own bone...Smith did not really want a bill...otherwise he would have thrown them that morsel. When they really want a STEM bill, it will happen.

    This bill is seriously flawed, whether in terms of the new categories and the need to reapply from scratch for existing people who have been a decade in line or dependent rules or the exclusion of all biological sciences. When the time is right and if they really want it, they all know the way forward. Now is apparently not it. Unfortunately, next year it may be derailed by the still mythical CIR.
  13. limbo's Avatar
    Amused: Lofgren was a cosponsor of HR3012.


    As long as she no longer supports cap removal as a stand alone, zero sum measure, that's all that matters to me.

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