Saturday, 01 Dec 2012
The House approved the STEM Jobs Act by a party-line margin of 245 to 139, following a last-minute move by Democrats to pass a version of the bill to keep the diversity lottery, Fox News reports.
Republicans did add a provision to the bill, as a concession to Democrats, that allows spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents to come to the
Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of
“These students have the ability to start a company that creates jobs or come up with an invention that could jump-start a whole new industry,” said Smith.
He said the bill also puts families first because it unites legal permanent residents with their spouses and children. Smith noted the current waiting period for a green card is over two years, and has been even longer in the past.
Democrats, though, said the Republican bill plays favorites among immigrants. Rep. Luis Gutierrez of
“My dad, if he had been an immigrant from
Under the lottery system around half the green cards go to nationals of African countries. If the House bill were to become law — which is considered unlikely due to Senate and White House opposition — that number is likely to be cut drastically.
The House voted on a similar bill in September, but if fell short because of the lack of a two-thirds majority.