The first post-election bill addressing potential immigration reform has been stalled in the United States Senate. The measure started in the House and was aimed at allowing immigrants with science and tech degrees taken from American universities to seek a visa to remain in the country after graduation. However, the House bill did not seek to increase overall visas under immigration law.
A provision in the bill created additional visas for degree holders in the STEM fields. But a provision in the House measure eliminated the Diversity Visa Program. That program under U.S. immigration law allows immigrants from underrepresented countries of origin to apply for a potential green card that is largely determined through a lottery process.
The bill was sent to the Senate-but it appears that the Senate has put the measure down. Senate Democrats refused to bring up the bill. The provision to eliminate the Diversity Visa program was the main stumbling block for the bill in the Senate.
Senator Chuck Schumer says that Democrats are in favor of immigration reform that addresses the important area of business and employment immigration involving science and tech careers. However, the Senator says that he objects to creating science and tech visas under a proposal that eliminates other visa programs or add “in other extraneous positions,” according to MSNBC.
Many commentators have speculated that immigration reform may not be far off after the recent election. The STEM Jobs Act bill reportedly was the first measure to be introduced in either chamber of Congress since the election.
Source: MSNBC, “Senate shoots down GOP immigration bill for cutting visas,” Jane C. Timm, Dec. 6, 2012