STEM Jobs Act a Step Backward on Immigration Reform, Warns Free Market Group

WASHINGTON D.C., Nov. 29, 2012 – This Friday, the House of Representatives will vote on the STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429). The bill would allocate 55,000 green cards for foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities with Doctorate and Master’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, but it also eliminates all 55,000 visas under the Diversity Visa Program.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) warned that the bill will actually hurt legal immigration. CEI immigration policy analyst David Bier released this statement on the legislation:

Not only does this bill seek to make immigration reform into a zero-sum game in which each winner must be matched with a loser, it seeks to use the illusion of immigration reform to decrease immigration. Its proponents know there are not enough foreign-born STEM graduates to fill demand for this new visa and have refused to allow unused visas to be reallocated to other categories.

The bill also violates employer privacy by creating an internet list of those who hire these immigrants, making them potential targets for harassment, and it undermines immigrant self-sufficiency by barring spouses of legal residents from work while they wait for green cards.

This bill sets a dangerous precedent that conservative reform means eliminating visas for the less-educated to give them to the highly-educated. Truly free market immigration reform should expand visas for both categories of immigrants. The false dichotomy the STEM Jobs Act creates will only make America’s immigration system more discriminatory and restrict avenues for legal immigration—which inevitably leads to more of the illegal kind.

>> Read more about the STEM Jobs Act here.