After the November Election's terrible showing for the Republicans, its seems like they realize that they need to "re-invent" themselves on the issue of immigration. We are really not sure why this awakening is happening "now" but . . . better late then never. The House of Representatives recently voted to pass the STEM Act. The STEM Act is a bill that makes it feasible for immigrant students who are graduating with degrees in science and math majors to receive a green card, allowing them to have permanent resident status in the U.S.
Of course, it is obviously the case that getting the STEM bill off the ground was not an easy political task. In fact, there are still legitimate concerns about how this Bill will do because of bipartisan arguments about various its provisions. The Republicans argue that the STEM bill will help with the demand for jobs in the math and science field. The Democrats see the STEM bill as potentially getting rid of other visa candidates as it seeks to eliminate the "diversity" visa lottery program. Diversity visas are for people who come from countries that have low immigration rates to the United States.
The STEM bill may be just "blue smoke and mirrors". As we have been explaining in our TV spots on TV Asia and iTV (see the left margin) . . . there are two ways to view the world in this period of uncertainly that we call the "lame duck session" of Congress.
First, it may be the case that the Republicans are using the passage of the STEM bill to garner support from the Latinos (who, political pundits seem to all say, voted for the Democratic Candidate in the Presidential Election in November). While any favorable immigration legislation is (we believe) quite welcome, we are afraid that the introduction of the STEM Act may be a veiled attempt to water-down the prospects for a future Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) Act.
The STEM bill, in theory, is good policy for our Nation. It allows immigrant students to put their American University education to use and work for companies here, instead of overseas. The foreign national students educated in the U.S. are some of the world's most brilliant minds. With the STEM Act in place, U.S. employers can continue to fill their talent pool with these folks thereby helping the U.S. economy by filling these jobs. Also, and in the name of "family unity" the makers of this STEM bill added a provision that makes it easier for the students to legally bring in spouses and children.
However, the STEM bill inevitably discriminates. Not only in the type of person who gets to receive a green card, but also in which academic field a person is allowed to obtain a visa or work permit in the U.S. STEM stands for - science, technology, engineering, and math. But what about the other fields where highly-skilled workers are prevalent? What about the entrepreneurs-in-residence? What about foreign national investors? What about teachers? And, of course, what about the important of diversity in the U.S.
There is another way (a second way) to view the world, and perhaps it is very optimistic. It may be the case that the STEM bill is (or can be) the cornerstone for CIR. Hey, CIS has to start somewhere! Perhaps it is the case that the Republicans have seen the light and are now ready to moderate on the immigration issue.
The past several years of failures in the immigration arena have us all drooling and pandering at the prospects of some form of favorable immigration legislation. However, we should be sure to "look before we leap". Perhaps it may be better to hold out for a solid Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. The political infrastructure and climate may be "right" to make this happen.
Continue to let your friends, relatives and colleagues know that the U.S. "immigration" issue is one that needs to be fixed (like health care) and, the sooner that this happens, the faster that the economy can continue chugging along.
For more information about the STEM Act, or about how Comprehensive Immigration Reform may impact you, or the members of your family, please feel free to contact the immigration lawyers and immigration professionals at our Firm at 201-670-0006 (x100) or by way of e-mail at [email protected]