Rep. Lofgren Offers STEM Visa Bill For Science And Technology Graduates

High on the tech industry policy wish list is legislation to grant visas to college graduates from other countries with advanced degrees in science and technology. On Friday, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced a bill that promises to do just that.

Dubbed, “Attracting the Best and Brightest Act 2012,” (H.R. 6412) the bill would make 50,000 visas available each year to students who “possess a graduate degree at the level of master’s or higher in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics from a United States research institution of higher education.”

Seemingly, this would be a non-partisan issue. But word from Politico is that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is looking at filing his own version of STEM legislation:

“But election season politics may be getting in the way, with Republicans wanting a bill introduced and voted on sooner than Democrats, according to a source. Rep. Lamar Smith has been at the center of these discussions, which also included Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Zoe Lofgren, Bob Goodlatte, Howard Berman, and Raul Labrador. A House Judiciary aide confirms Smith is working on a measure that would keep some foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced STEM degrees in the U.S., and he hopes to have a draft bill soon.”

Ah, well. Probably would have been kidding ourselves to think it would be easy. In any case, below is a copy of Lofgren’s bill, followed by a breakdown of its contents:

Attracting the Best and Brightest Act of 2012

Here’s the breakdown:



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  • Dolores

    As the mother of four American STEM grads, who watched them struggle in our economy to find work and launch their adult lives, this quest for STEM visas baffles me. I was a graduation ceremony volunteer for years at a major US research university where I used to work too, and I saw for myself how America has a vast number of wonderful citizen STEM grads. Many of these American kids had to move home and wait tables over the last decade in our dreadful economy, while the foreign STEM grads were aggressively recruited for jobs in America, and the bad times are not over yet by any means. Foreign grads are supposed to go home and lift up their own nations. That’s the entire original purpose of the student visa, and it’s a form of theft for America to retain them. Meanwhile, we continue to ignore, discount, and squander the talents of our own citizen STEM grads. Why, we’re treating them just like we’ve treated American vs. foreign workers over the last decade. Isn’t it way past time we started focusing on own skilled and educated workers, valuing them, and getting them back to work?