Thu, Dec 6 11:03 PM
On November 30, the House of Representatives passed a bill to scrap the annual green card lottery that randomly distributes green cards to 55,000 applicants. Created in 1986, the law technically called the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program does not heighten the skills of the American workforce, reunite families or serve humanitarian function.
The bill would instead give immigrants the ability to become citizens based on their skills and community ties. This would increase the acceptance of those with advanced science or technology degrees who wish to start businesses in the United States.
A 245-139 vote backed the plan, although it is unlikely for it to become a law. Both Democrats and Republicans are in favor of helping foreigners with STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – skills to drive innovation.
"In a global economy, we cannot afford to educate these foreign graduates in the U.S. and then send them back home to work for our competitors," Lamar Smith, who introduced the bill, said in a speech before the vote.
However, some lawmakers are concerned the bill raises issues in the effort for a comprehensive immigration reform. Many lower-skilled immigrants serve a vital role in the economy as well, and many advocates argue that they should not be rejected based on their education levels. Some individuals come here seeking U.S. citizenship with hopes of pursuing their education further.
President Obama recently renewed the EB-5 Regional Center Program, or the Immigrant Investor Program, for three more years. This encourages the use of foreign investment to create more American jobs. Investors, their spouses and children under the age of 21 can earn green cards if the investment creates a minimum of 10 jobs for American workers.
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