|By Marketwired .||
|December 17, 2012 08:56 PM EST||
DALLAS, TX -- (Marketwire) -- 12/17/12 -- In recent months, there have been bills introduced in the House of Representatives to create a visa program to grant permanent resident status to immigrants with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, fields, immigration proposals with significant bi-partisan support in concept, and which are well short of any comprehensive immigration reform.
Dallas immigration lawyer Stewart Rabinowitz of the law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowtiz, P.C. issued a statement commenting on the proposed legislation.
"As part of the post November, 2012 election fallout, both Democrats and Republicans have re-focused their energy on narrow, immigration-related legislative proposals on which both parties -- in principle -- can agree: Helping foreign national advanced degree holders have an effective way to gain permanent resident status, in the STEM fields, and stay in America," Rabinowitz said.
H.R. 6429, the STEM Jobs Act, introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, would create a new green card category for up to 55,000 aliens with STEM advanced degrees each year. These visas would come at the cost of eliminating the Diversity Visa program, which grants 50,000 visas per year on a lottery basis to immigrants worldwide from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.
27 Democrats joined Republicans in passing the bill in the House on November 30, 2012, by a vote of 245 to 139.
A competing bill, favored by Democrats, and introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). H.R. 6412, the Attracting the Best and Brightest Act of 2012, would create a new visa program granting green cards to 50,000 STEM graduates per year, similar to Rep. Smith's bill, but would leave the existing Diversity Visa program intact.
The bill has 64 Democratic co-sponsors, but currently remains in committee. Following the passage of Rep. Smith's competing bill, it is unlikely to be voted on during this session.
"At least now there is the possibility of some real change as Republicans have begun to see the immigration issue as more than just building a bigger, better fence," Mr. Rabinowitz added. "Now will come the hard work of actually crafting a bill that can pass both houses."
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