STEM Act has Passed in the House of Representatives

Today, the House of Representatives has a passed the STEM Jobs Act, a bill proposed to give green cards to foreign students in the U.S. graduating with advanced STEM degrees.

The STEM Act would grant 55,000 green cards every year to those earning masters and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It would eliminate all 55,000 Diversity Visas currently available annually. The Diversity Visa program makes U.S. visas available to people from countries that have low rates of immigration.

The House voted on a similar bill in September. It then failed to pass. This time around, it passed with a 245 to 139 vote. The voting was along party lines

The bill is, however, not likely to pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Obama is also against it. The STEM Act received official opposition from Obama’s administration this week. The White House considers it to be too narrow of a bill.

The Obama Administration released a statement stating the following:

“[The White House] does not support narrowly tailored proposals that do not meet the president’s long-term objectives with respect to comprehensive immigration reform.”

One problem with the bill is that fewer visas than the 55,000 would be issued because fewer than 50,000 advanced STEM degrees are awarded to foreigners each year. The leftover visas would not be able to be transferred to another U.S. visa program.