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Blogs / Power

Smith Introduces Immigration Bill

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

September 18, 2012

Who would have thought immigration legislation would be among the last pieces of business Congress would tackle before leaving town to campaign for re-election?

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, introduced his STEM Jobs Act today. The bill eliminates the diversity visa lottery, reallocating that program's 55,000 green cards to give to immigrants graduating from American universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (commonly referred to as STEM fields).

The Alley broke the news last week that the House was planning a vote on the immigration bill before it went into recess again. Most of the original co-sponsors of the bill are Republicans.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the top ranking Democrat on the House Immigration Policy and Enforcement subcommittee, has introduced legislation that her office says addresses the need for STEM-educated immigrants without the serious flaws found in Smith's bill.

On the Senate side, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer is planning to introduce a STEM bill this week, although his version wouldn't eliminate the diversity visa program, The Hill reports.

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