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US House Could Vote On STEM Act This Week And Create 55,000 Visas For Highly Skilled Workers

27 Nov 2012


Immigration News

Roughly 55,000 immigrants may soon receive green cards if Congress approves a Republican bill this week that would create additional visas for educated and skilled immigrant workers.

According to ABC News Univision, the U.S. House of Representatives could reportedly be voting on the STEM Jobs Act on Friday.

The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, is said to call for the creation of 55,000 additional green cards per year for workers with master's and doctoral degrees in science, tech, engineering and math.

Washington politicians have been placed under heavy pressure to reform immigration by the growing Latino electorate after they provided a record surge for Democrats at the polls during the Nov. 6 election. The fact that the bill was proposed by Smith, a republican, could be indicative of the GOP's newfound willingness to sit down and discuss comprehensive immigration reform.

The House voted on a STEM bill - which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics - in September, but it was defeated. More than 80 percent of Democrats voting against that bill, according to the Associated Press, because it would offset the increase in visas for high-tech graduates by eliminating another visa program, known as the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, which is available for less-educated foreigners, many from Africa.

 The House's Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus have chastised the Republicans on that proposal in September, the Associated Press reports, claiming that Republicans were trying to increase legal immigrations for demographics they coveted by ending immigration for other groups they didn't want.

To change up the bill, Republicans have added in a long sought provision that would expand a program allowing the spouses and minor children of people with permanent residence, or green card holders, to wait in the country for their own green cards to be granted.

Roughly 322,000 are on waiting lists for such family-based green cards-the process of which could take years.

Source: http://www.latinospost.com/articles/7343/20121126/house-vote-stem-act-week-create-55.htm


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