(House of Representatives - November 29, 2012)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Pages H6517-H6524]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I 
call up House Resolution 821 and ask for its immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:

                              H. Res. 821

       Resolved, That upon the adoption of this resolution it 
     shall be in order to consider in the House the bill (H.R. 
     6429) to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to promote 
     innovation, investment, and research in the United States, to 
     eliminate the diversity immigrant program, and for other 
     purposes. All points of order against consideration of the 
     bill are waived. An amendment in the nature of a substitute 
     consisting of the text of Rules Committee Print 112-34, 
     modified by the amendment printed in the report of the 
     Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution, shall be 
     considered as adopted. The bill, as amended, shall be 
     considered as read. All points of order against provisions in 
     the bill, as amended, are waived. The previous question shall 
     be considered as ordered on the bill, as amended, and on any 
     amendment thereto to final passage without intervening motion 
     except: (1) 90 minutes of debate equally divided and 
     controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the 
     Committee on the Judiciary; and (2) one motion to recommit 
     with or without instructions.
       Sec. 2.  It shall be in order at any time on the 
     legislative day of December 6, 2012, for the Speaker to 
     entertain motions that the House suspend the rules as though 
     under clause 1 of rule XV.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Florida is recognized for 
1 hour.
  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the 
customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Polis), 
pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During 
consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose 
of debate only.

                             General Leave

  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Florida?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this rule, which 
will allow the House of Representatives to consider H.R. 6429, the STEM 
Jobs Act of 2012.
  As I am sure my colleague from Colorado will point out, H. Res. 821 
is a closed rule. The fact is that like Mr. Polis, I prefer an open-
amendment process. Open rules let us come together on both sides of the 
aisle and contribute ideas to help make a bill better.
  Today's rule will be closed, but that's because the crafting of the 
STEM Jobs Act has been in a collaborative process for the last few 
months. Chairman Smith, the author of this legislation, has already 
worked with his committee, Republicans, Democrats, and even the Senate 
to come up with a bill that, hopefully, everybody could support.
  Unfortunately, we've since been informed that our colleagues on the 
other side of the aisle and in the other Chamber are looking to play 
politics with the STEM Jobs Act. However, that doesn't change the fact 
that Chairman Smith worked diligently to make sure this legislation was 
filled with bipartisan ideas.
  The STEM Jobs Act would eliminate the flawed Diversity Lottery Green 
Card program and reallocate up to 55,000 green cards a year to new 
green card programs for foreign graduates of U.S. universities with 
advanced STEM degrees.
  According to a study by the National Science Foundation and the 
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, in 1990 about 
91,000 full-time foreign graduate students were studying in STEM fields 
in the United States. That number had jumped to almost 149,000 by 2009. 
It was 149,000 in 2009. However, the vast majority of these highly 
skilled, highly educated innovators are leaving the United States where 
they once received their education.
  We're training hundreds of thousands of highly skilled engineers, 
technicians, and scientists at American universities and then sending 
them back home to compete against us in other countries.

                              {time}  1230

  They aren't moving to other countries because they want to leave the 
United States. They're moving because the immigration system forces 
them out.
  Currently, we only select 5 percent of our Nation's legal immigrants 
based on skills and education they bring to America. So the vast 
majority of foreign students who come to America for advanced degrees 
and get their education find themselves on a years-long green card 
waiting list and give up on the idea of staying here in the United 
  When they leave our country, they take with them all their training 
and all of their potential to go work for America's business 
competitors in Canada, Europe, and Asia. The exodus of U.S.-trained 
STEM professionals has been referred to as reverse brain drain.
  The STEM Act of 2012 would reverse this trend. It would establish a 
program to prioritize green cards for immigrants with graduate-level 
degrees in the STEM fields. To offset the number of green cards that 
would be given to the STEM Visa program, the bill would eliminate the 
diversity lottery green card program, a program that has been 
repeatedly highlighted as a threat to our national security.
  The result is that there would be no net increase in the number of 
green cards we give out as a Nation. The difference is that we will get 
immigrants who have the training and the skills that we need to keep 
American businesses competitive in a globalized and increasingly 
technical age. In the process, we will eliminate a visa lottery system 
that's rife with fraud and abuse and the State Department stated 
contains significant threats to our national security.
  In the Rules Committee meeting last night, some opponents to H.R. 
6429 said that fraud and security concerns are old problems and that 
they've been fixed. My colleagues were right in that these are old 
problems, but the State Department inspector general report published 
in 2003 listed the widespread abuse in the diversity lottery visa 
program. The inspector general pointed to identity fraud, forged 
documents, and national security threats. That's their words.
  However, my colleagues were absolutely wrong to say that the problems 
have been fixed. In fact, just 2 months ago, the GAO released a study 
discussing the ways the State Department could reduce fraud in our 
immigration system, and it highlighted the diversity lottery program. 
Moreover, the STEM Jobs Act does this without putting American jobs at 
  This legislation includes provisions that would require the 
petitioning of an employer to submit a job order to the appropriate 
State workforce agency. The job opening would then be posted in the 
agency's official Web site in an effort to publicize available jobs for 
  In addition to reforming the green card process for foreign students 
with advanced STEM degrees, H.R. 6429 also includes provisions that 
would help reunite families waiting on the immigration process. As it 
currently stands, family green cards can take 6 or 7 years to process 
and be approved. During these long years, families are separated. A 
spouse or parent can be living as a permanent resident in the United 
States while their loved ones wait back home hoping to be reunited 
somewhere down the line. This pro-family legislation would help reduce 
the time these families need to spend apart without speeding up or 
preempting the actual green card process.
  Provisions contained within the STEM Jobs Act would expand the V 
nonimmigrant visa program to allow spouses and minor children of 
permanent U.S. residents to come to the United States to live with 
their loved ones once they have spent 1 year on the green card waiting 
list. The bill expressly states that these folks would not be allowed 
to work, taking jobs away from American citizens, nor would they 
inherently be entitled to any government welfare programs because of 
the V visa in and of itself.
  Similarly, the expanded V visa program won't speed up or expedite the 
green card process in any way. All it does is this: It ensures that 
families don't have to live separately and in uncertainty as to when 
they can be reunited at an unknown time down the line. It brings 
families back together.

[[Page H6518]]

  The simple fact is that our current immigration system is 
ineffective. We educate the world's best and brightest and then send 
them away to be our competitors. We only prioritize about 5 percent of 
our visas based upon what they actually contribute to our economy. We 
have a diversity lottery system that is subject to widespread abuse and 
opens up our country to entry of hostile intelligence officers, 
criminals, and terrorists. We separate spouses, parents, and minor 
children for unknown years on end.
  We can do better with the STEM Jobs Act. It is an important step 
towards doing better. It makes the American green card process smarter, 
safer, and more family oriented. It protects American jobs and workers 
while still supporting the American innovation industry, which is why 
over 100 major companies and councils have supported H.R. 6429.

  I support this rule, and I hope all my colleagues on both sides of 
the aisle will.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida for 
yielding me the customary 30 minutes, and I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the rule for the underlying 
bill, H.R. 6429, the STEM Jobs Act of 2012. It is important to talk 
about, in consideration of this rule and this bill, what it is and what 
it isn't.
  Here we are with a looming fiscal cliff, and yet Congress has allowed 
no issue to fester longer than immigration. Whether one is on the left 
or the right or in the middle, I'm sure my colleague from Florida would 
agree that whatever we're doing now in immigration is not working very 
well. We have over 10 million people here illegally. There is rampant 
violation of the law. There is lackluster enforcement. Families are 
torn apart.
  What's before us, regardless of the merits, which we'll get into in a 
moment, clearly does not address the problems in our immigration 
system. Whether this bill becomes law or not, our immigration system 
will continue to have problems, and there will continue to be over 10 
million people here in violation of the law, many working illegally, in 
some cases taking jobs away from American citizens.
  So instead of a solution, we have a bill before us that asks us to 
weigh two goals of our immigration policy in many ways against one 
another. There might very well be room for a noncontroversial 
immigration bill that catches up and includes some of the less 
controversial provisions, including a STEM program, and there could 
very well be room for that short of comprehensive immigration reform.
  I support and am a cosponsor of the IDEA Act, which does that. I 
tried to amend into this bill and allow for the consideration of this 
body yesterday in the Rules Committee a bill that I have for the 
permanent reauthorization of the EB-5 visa program, a program that is 
not very controversial and has strong support from both sides but 
suffers from temporary reauthorizations. This is a critical program for 
creating jobs for Americans because it allows companies to attract 
capital from investors, and those investors are able to be part of 
those companies and grow those companies, creating jobs for Americans.
  This program could be much more successful if the Rules Committee 
yesterday had, on a party-line vote, not allowed that amendment to come 
to the floor. I'm confident that that amendment would have passed with 
near universal support, and certainly strong support from both sides.
  Instead of trying to catch and move forward on some of the less 
controversial aspects of immigration which in no way, shape, or form, 
again, prevent the need for a comprehensive solution, but instead of 
even moving forward on the noncontroversial aspects, we have a bill 
before us that is controversial because it weighs two important goals 
of immigration against one another. So rather than create a STEM Visa 
program as the IDEA Act does, as the STAPLE Act, which I'm a cosponsor 
of with my colleague Congressman Flake from Arizona who has introduced 
it in past sessions, rather than do that, it asks the question of this 
body: Would we rather have a Diversity Visa concept or would we rather 
have a STEM Visa concept? In reality, I think many in this body would 
agree that both are desirable.

                              {time}  1240

  Diversity Visas essentially go to immigrants that are from countries 
other than the main countries that send us immigrants. What are the 
main countries that send us immigrants? Obviously, Mexico. In addition 
to that, there are China, Brazil, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Peru, and 
several others. We have a lot of immigrants from Mexico and these other 
countries. What the Diversity Visa says is, shouldn't we also give 
opportunities to some residents of countries, like the Ukraine or 
Albania or Ethiopia, and have them also come so that they're not just 
crowded out by applicants from Mexico, India, and China?
  If we don't have a Diversity Visa, a higher percentage of our 
immigrants will be from Mexico, India, and China. Now, that's okay--
it's certainly not the end of the world--but there is value in having 
immigrants from across the world. There is value in having Ukrainians 
come to this country. There is value in having Ethiopians. In addition, 
there is value in people having diverse social backgrounds and ethnic 
backgrounds coming to this country to facilitate assimilation into this 
country and integration into this country. So I think that it was well 
thought out in having a concept whereby people who don't happen to be 
from Mexico, India, China or the other main countries have a way of 
getting here. It's a good program.
  So, too, having a STEM visa program is absolutely critical as it is 
important to our country to make sure that we can retain the talent 
that we attract to our universities. There is something that is so 
frustrating to me as an American and to many of our constituents, and I 
talk about it frequently back home with my representing both of our 
major State universities in Colorado as well as private universities in 
my district:
  Here we are educating people from across the world, and if you look 
at our engineering grad schools, we see a high number of foreign 
nationals on student visas. We are educating computer programmers and 
aerospace engineers with the skills they need to compete in a 21st-
century workforce. Upon giving them their master's degrees or Ph.D.s, 
we tell them, do you know what, you're not allowed to work here in this 
country. You have to move back to another country and compete against 
us. Guess what? The jobs follow them. In the digital age, employers 
care less where an employee is based. They care where the talent is. If 
the best computer programmer is only available for hire or if an 
aerospace engineer is only available for hire in India or in Mexico or 
in the U.K., the companies will--and increasingly are--setting up 
divisions in those countries to hire them rather than hiring here. So 
the lack of having a STEM job pathway is actively destroying American 
jobs every day.
  Here we are as a body being asked to say under a closed rule, Is it 
more important to have immigrants from countries other than Mexico, 
India, and China? Is it more important to have some Ukrainians and 
Ethiopians and Albanians? I use those examples because those are some 
of the leading countries that have used the Diversity Visa, but there 
are a broad number of countries that do. Is that something that's 
important? How does its importance compare to making sure that those we 
train here are able to deploy their talents here and create jobs in 
America rather than overseas?
  Again, it's a very frustrating proposition in the way the Republicans 
have chosen to bring this to the floor: a, it obviously doesn't address 
the underlying issues of our immigration crisis in this country. It 
doesn't change the fact that there are 10 million people here 
illegally, and it doesn't prevent people from coming here illegally; b, 
it asks us to choose between two valuable programs. Rather than simply 
passing the Staples Act, rather than passing the IDEA Act, it says that 
we're going to have to choose as a country to benefit either from STEM 
graduates or from people from other countries other than Mexico, India, 
and China. It's a false dilemma.
  There were amendments that were offered by Zoe Lofgren that would

[[Page H6519]]

have addressed that which were turned down by the Rules Committee. 
Again, there were strong bipartisan concepts like EB-5 permanent 
authorization that I offered, put forward, that were also shut down in 
committee. In addition, at a time of budget deficits and the looming 
fiscal crisis, this bill would increase the budget deficit by over $1 
billion over the next 5 years; and that is unpaid for as well.
  There are many ways that immigration can be looked at to reduce our 
budget deficit, and there are many concepts of comprehensive 
immigration reform either through fees paid by those who violate the 
law, penalties paid. Increased taxes going forward for those who would 
have to pay taxes under immigration reform would actually reduce our 
deficit; but here we are with a solitary idea around immigration that 
forces all Members of this body to weigh two valuable programs against 
one another, and at the same time it costs taxpayers over $1 billion 
over the next 5 years. It's a choice that Congress shouldn't face.
  There are also very legitimate concerns that, not only does this bill 
weigh two valuable programs and asks us to choose, but, in effect, it's 
a backdoor way to reduce the number of legal immigrants. There should 
be no hesitation in saying that, by reducing the number of legal 
immigrants, we will increase the number of illegal immigrants. This 
bill will likely increase the number of illegal immigrants to this 
country because the math doesn't work.
  Now, why doesn't the math work? The bill purports to offset 55,000 
STEM green cards by eliminating 55,000 green cards in the Diversity 
program. Now, if that were a one-on-one trade, that would be the same 
net number of immigrants. The issue is, as to our institutions of 
higher education that give master's degrees and Ph.D.s in the eligible 
areas to students on foreign visas, there are not 55,000 foreign 
students who receive them every year. There were, in fact, 29,904 last 
year, so about 30,000. There is a backlog so that, after several years, 
the 55,000 would no longer be able to be met; but then after 3 or 4 
years and after the backlog was met, this would likely lead to a 
reduction in legal immigration and to an increase in illegal 
immigration because only 29,000 foreign nationals are matriculating 
with master's and Ph.D.s in the included areas; yet 55,000 visas would 
be removed from the program that allows Ukrainians, Ethiopians, and 
people from countries that are not Mexico, India, China, and the other 
12 from coming to this country legally.

  So I have very sincere concerns that, rather than addressing the 
issue of illegal immigration, this bill because of the math and because 
of the numbers that have been brought to my attention could actually 
increase illegal immigration by reducing legal immigration, which is 
the last thing that we need to do with regard to solving in a 
bipartisan way our immigration crisis.
  As a former Internet entrepreneur myself and in representing our 
universities, I know firsthand about the critical need to pass a STEM 
visa program. Not only would it create more high-paying, high-tech jobs 
for Americans, but it would produce tax revenues. It would make our 
country stronger and our economy stronger. Yet rather than take up the 
IDEA Act or the Staples Act, we're here with a backdoor attempt by the 
Republicans to increase the number of illegal immigrants in our 
country, which I would argue is not the right direction for immigration 
reform. Immigration reform should be predicated around solving the 
crisis of illegal immigration. Rather than increasing the number of 
illegal immigrants from 10 million to 12 million to 14 million, we need 
to find a way to reduce that number to as close to zero as is feasible, 
and that should be the goal of immigration reform.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. NUGENT. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. POLIS. It is my honor to yield 3 minutes to a leader on 
immigration issues, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Gutierrez).
  Mr. GUTIERREZ. I thank the gentleman from Colorado and distinguished 
member of the Rules Committee for yielding time to me.
  Despite bipartisan support for a clean STEM visa bill, this is a 
partisan bill that picks winners and losers in our immigration system 
and requires the elimination of the Diversity Visa program before a 
single STEM visa can be issued. In other words, we want to pick 
immigrants we like and then eliminate immigrants we don't like as 
though some are better than others. The interesting thing is that most 
of the Members of the House can look back into their own personal 
histories and find their own family members and ancestors who come from 
the countries that are being eliminated.

                              {time}  1250

  After the historic elections we've just witnessed, it flies in the 
face of our diverse American electorate to precondition STEM visas on 
the elimination of Diversity Visa immigrants, 50 percent of whom come 
from the continent of Africa. Like STEM graduates, they have much to 
contribute to the United States.
  We've seen this poison pill before--pitting immigrant against 
immigrant--when the House voted down H.R. 6429 under suspension. But it 
gets worse. Inserted in the new version of the bill is an amendment to 
the V Visa program that the majority claims helps families and makes 
the bill balanced and bipartisan.
  Let me be clear: this was not a provision negotiated with us on the 
Democratic side. It was negotiated with anti-immigrant groups and 
extremists in the Republican Party.
  H.R. 6429 takes the V visa, a bipartisan visa created more than 10 
years ago, and amends it to deny V visa holders eligibility to work and 
cuts out of the program spouses and minor children already living in 
the U.S. This backhanded, so-called family fix should offend anyone who 
truly cares about families.
  But the family provisions are even worse than that. Families of STEM 
visa holders are treated fairly, but the families of ``ordinary'' green 
card holders are treated as second class. If you are a STEM degree 
holder, your spouse and minor children can immediately come to the 
United States and your spouse is granted a work permit. My colleagues 
on the other side of the aisle know this. However, if you're an 
``ordinary'' green card holder who applies to bring your spouse and 
children to the United States through our regular family immigration 
channels, you will make your spouse and children wait at least a year 
before joining you in the U.S., and we will not allow your spouse to 
work once he or she gets here.
  I agree that STEM holders should be able to bring their families--
their children and their wives or their husbands--and that their 
spouses should be able to work legally in the United States. However, I 
resent that the spouses and children of other family-based immigrants 
are treated differently and unfairly. Apparently Republicans' devotion 
to family extends only to families where the principal immigrant is 
smart enough to earn a Ph.D. or master's degree in a STEM field, and 
that is something that I resent. And that is something that all 
Americans should abhor. It goes against the immigration diversity that 
we have, as a Nation, created.
  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Curson), a new Member of our body.
  Mr. CURSON of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to 
H.R. 6429 because I have grave concerns with the bill's elimination of 
the Diversity Visa program. The Diversity Visa program has given people 
from around the world the opportunity to win the most precious lottery: 
the chance to come to the United States, to work hard, and to earn the 
right to be an American. The program increases our Nation's ethnic 
diversity and provides one of the few legal pathways for immigration 
from countries that are impoverished, persecuted, or unfree.
  I do support increasing STEM visas to foreign graduates. That will 
increase our pool of high-skilled workers that will promote new ideas, 
new technologies, and help our businesses stay on the cutting edge of 
new things to come. But we should not reward one class of individuals 
and deny another class that's not so blessed with the opportunity to 
prove themselves.
  H.R. 6429 would actually reduce legal immigration levels by not 
allowing the rollover of unused visas. It's disappointing that there's 
no opportunity

[[Page H6520]]

to craft sensible, bipartisan legislation on an issue that so many 
Democrats and Republicans agree on.
  H.R. 6412, the Democratic version, requires that employers offer 
wages to STEM graduates that do not undercut actual wages paid to U.S. 
workers with similar levels of experience. I have witnessed over the 
last decade unscrupulous employers who dramatically eroded wages, not 
for competitive reasons, but solely to transfer wealth from workers to 
executives. They were successful only because workers were hungry for 
jobs and willing to work for nearly any wage. The median household 
income dropped by $3,700 in that time while executive pay skyrocketed, 
even as our economy tanked. By contrast, the bill we are debating today 
does not include wage protections and does not adequately ensure that 
American workers are protected.
  Equally important is that H.R. 6412 preserves the Diversity Visa 
program, ensuring equal opportunity to work in our great land. 
Democrats and Republicans alike have forwarded great wisdom towards 
this issue. Now is the time to cooperate with one another and craft a 
truly bipartisan approach to immigration reform that provides for 
equality of opportunity for all those who seek the benefit of U.S. 
  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
  Mr. POLIS. It is my honor to yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer).
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy 
for yielding me this time, and I identify with a number of the 
reservations that he mentioned about this legislation.
  A costly, inhumane, and broken immigration system is a shadow over 
the American landscape. The current system denies the reality of nearly 
12 million immigrants, who, for the most part, are already part of the 
fabric of American life. They work in American business and are often 
already integrated into existing families.
  A consequence of this recent election may well be a new reality on 
the American political scene when it comes to immigration, a 
willingness to soften hard-edged positions and move us in a more 
thoughtful direction. We are already hearing some of these signals from 
the Senate this week. In a small way, the legislation before us today 
may provide an additional opportunity to move forward.
  I voted against its earlier incarnation--reluctantly--because it was 
designed to fail. While I will vote today against the rule, tomorrow I 
will be voting for the legislation which would create the STEM Visa 
program and give 55,000 green cards a year to doctoral and masters 
graduates in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematical 
fields. Dealing with this in regular order is encouraging. The bill was 
also made marginally better. I think we have an opportunity here for us 
all to help break this logjam. Creating a STEM Visa program should be a 
  This legislation is certainly not perfect, and I agree, as I 
mentioned, with some of the reservations that have been advanced. 
Frankly, unless our objections are addressed, it will not pass the 
Senate. We don't support the philosophy that immigration needs to be 
zero sum. We need not eliminate the Diversity Visa program in order to 
add this program. The Senate, as I said, will fix these provisions, if 
they take it up at all. Frankly, I hope they do take it up and they do 
fix it. This would be an important signal to the next Congress that we 
can and must move forward on broader immigration reform, like the 
comprehensive immigration reform, that Senator McCain previously 
supported with the late-Senator Kennedy.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. POLIS. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. America needs to unite families, to protect and give 
justice to young people, strengthen business from high tech to 
agriculture and help us live up to our ideals as a Nation of 
  A costly, inhumane, and broken immigration system is a shadow over 
the American landscape. The current system denies the reality of nearly 
12 million immigrants, who for the most part are already part of the 
fabric of American life. They work in American business and are often 
already integrated into existing families. Strengthening and expanding 
legal immigration even helps grow our economy. Conservative economists 
for the Cato Institute project that a comprehensive imigration reform 
with a pathway to citizenship would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. 
economy over 10 years. Unfortunately, rational immigration policy has 
fallen victim to some of the most extreme political cross currents in 
our country which not only deny our roots, but violate fundamental 
fairness and reality.
  Recent immigration legislation is costly, inefficient, and cruel as 
it relates to families already here. Young people brought here as 
children who know no other life and are American in every sense, but 
are still denied the American dream.
  A consequence of the election may well be a new reality on the 
American political scene when it comes to immigration and a willingness 
to soften hard-edged positions and move us in a more thoughtful 
  There have been shifts in public attitude embracing comprehensive 
solutions for some time, but in the political arena this is a more 
recent phenomenon. It will take time to do this right, but a 
willingness by some on the other side of the aisle to offer their own 
version of the DREAM Act in the Senate, for example, is reason for 
  While I strongly support a comprehensive solution that provides a 
path to citizenship for people who are willing to play by the rules, 
work hard, pay their taxes, and demonstrate citizenship skills, there 
are two intermediate steps that should get us moving in the right 
direction. The DREAM Act and the creation of a STEM visa program should 
be low-hanging fruit that almost everyone can embrace.
  The deferred action announced by the administration to give a sliver 
of hope to these bright young people who study hard and play by the 
rules and who are good citizens was a good step but should be followed 
by early action on the DREAM Act. I am proud this was passed by the 
previous Congress and I hope it will be the first order of business in 
the new Congress. These young people are the lifeblood of America's 
future and we should welcome them and do everything possible to ensure 
their success.

  I will vote for H.R. 6429, the STEM Jobs Act, which creates a STEM 
visa program and would give 55,000 green cards a year to doctoral and 
master's graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematical 
fields. I reluctantly voted against this in September because it was 
brought forward as a last minute suspension bill designed to fail and 
create unnecessary political divisions. This time, dealing with this in 
regular order is encouraging. It was also made marginally better. For 
example, the new version of the legislation decreases the wait time for 
certain spouses and children who are planning to join their loved ones 
with permanent residency in the United States. It also removed a 
concerning provision that forced STEM visa applicants to commit to 
working in the United States for five years. While prospects in the 
Senate are still dim, the most important change has been the 
willingness of my friends on the other side of the aisle to take 
another look at immigration and maybe dial down the political rhetoric. 
I was personally willing to meet them halfway.
  Creating a STEM visa program should be a no-brainer. It will make a 
huge difference in keeping the best and brightest from around the world 
in the United States. These students come to our colleges and 
universities to receive the best education available and it is insane 
to send them back home or to other countries if they want to stay here. 
It has been said that we should staple a green card to every diploma 
for an advanced degree. We should certainly do whatever is necessary 
for appropriate verification to ensure national security, but the 
overwhelming majority should be welcome to reside, be productive, 
create families, and support businesses right here.
  The legislation is certainly not perfect and unless our objection is 
addressed will not pass the Senate. We need comprehensive immigration 
overhaul, not a piecemeal approach. I also do not support the 
philosophy that immigration needs to remain zero-sum: we should not 
need to eliminate the diversity visa in order to add this program. I am 
confident the Senate will fix these provisions.
  This would be an important signal to the next Congress that we can 
and must move forward on broader immigration reform. America needs to 
unite families, to protect and give justice to young people, strengthen 
business from high-tech to agriculture, and help us live up to our 
ideals as a Nation of immigrants.
  Mr. POLIS. I would like to inquire if the gentleman from Florida has 
any remaining speakers he's expecting.
  Mr. NUGENT. I do not.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, seeing as I am the last speaker from my side, 
I yield myself the balance of my time.

[[Page H6521]]

  As articulated by the gentleman from Oregon, this bill presents a 
difficult decision for Members of this body, and I certainly have great 
respect for people on both sides of the issue.

                              {time}  1300

  I want to go over, again, some of the pros and cons. The program that 
allows Ukrainians, Ethiopians, and Albanians to come in to make sure 
that a disproportionate number of our immigrants are not just from a 
small number of countries is important. Absent that, a higher 
percentage of our immigrants will be from Mexico, India, and China. So 
again, if this bill passes, a higher percentage of our immigrants will 
be from the major countries that send people here.
  Now, it's not the end of the world, but there's added value in having 
people from all corners of the world come here to become part of our 
great country and, in many cases, this is the only way that people from 
Nepal or Albania or Ethiopia have a shot at coming to this country and 
  We also need people in this country across all different skill levels 
in our labor market. And whether that labor includes toiling in the 
field or toiling in downtown buildings at night or programming 
computers or designing aircraft, we have needs across all sectors of 
our economy--yes, in STEM, but not just in STEM.
  So we are asked to choose, asked to choose between people with 
graduate degrees whom we want to keep here in science, technology, 
engineering, and math. In many cases, if they're not allowed to stay, 
they will have to return to other countries, and the jobs will follow 
them, costing our country jobs.
  Choose between them and allowing people here from countries other 
than Mexico, India, and China, some of whom are high-skilled, some of 
whom are low-skilled, a diverse group across the board. Looking back at 
many of our own forebears, certainly mine, my family came to this 
country in the late 19th century, and early 20th century, 1890s, 1905. 
They didn't have master's degrees. They didn't have Ph.D.s. They didn't 
have college degrees. And that's the case for many of our forebears.
  Here today their great-grandson sits as a Member of Congress, and had 
a program not existed whereby they could arrive at Ellis Island and be 
here, I wouldn't be here today.
  Now, my father has a Ph.D., but that's the legacy of his hard-working 
immigrant grandparents that came to this country without a college 
degree and, in many cases, without something that's the equivalent of 
even a high school degree today. To work hard, to live the American 
Dream, and for their descendents, to be able to serve in this august 
  So it's a cause for reflection. Both are important. And again, the 
closed process of the bill doesn't allow for a discussion of the IDEA 
Act or the STAPLE Act, which would simply create a new STEM immigrant 
visa program.
  My other concern with this bill, as I mentioned, is that it would 
increase the number of illegal immigrants here in this country. Simply 
by the way that the math works, the number of STEM graduates is lower 
than the number of STEM visas that are available each year.
  Now, it would be one thing if that was allowed to trickle down to 
other categories, or, for instance, the overflow was allowed to be used 
for diversity visas. There might be room for compromise. But instead, 
those excess visas disappear. So after the backlog of three or 4 years 
is dealt with, these 55,000 visas that are being taken away from 
Albania and the Ukraine and Ethiopia and Africa and Asia, the back of 
those 55,000 visas will only result in 20,000 or so net immigrants.
  Now 29,000 graduates graduating from institutions of higher 
education. Now, keep in mind, not everybody wants to stay here. As 
attractive as our country is, some people do want to learn here and go 
back to their other countries, and that's certainly fine as well. But 
many will want to stay here.
  But in losing some of those visas, again, we are only increasing the 
immigration problem, the illegal immigration problem, and moving in the 
opposite direction of addressing immigration in this country. There is 
little to be proud of with regard to the current state of affairs in 
  It's very different than when my great-grandparents came here and got 
off at Ellis Island and registered and, albeit with a misspelled name, 
were able to go to work the next day. It's becoming harder and harder.
  The absence of a legal way of immigrating that is in touch with our 
labor market in this country, the lack of having an operative 
immigration system has led to over 10 million people being here 
illegally, working illegally, as my colleague from Oregon said, in many 
cases, integrated into our communities. Many of them have American 
children, are parents of American kids, and yet, without any way, 
currently, of getting right with the law.
  What we need to do in immigration reform is require that people who 
are here illegally get right with the law, rather than prevent them 
from getting right with the law, which is what we do currently.
  So, again, while STEM immigration is very important, my colleagues 
are being asked, in a closed process, to weigh that with the issue of 
immigrants from countries like the Ukraine and Albania. At the same 
time, again, this bill will increase the number of illegal immigrants 
in this country. Perhaps increasing the number of illegal immigrants 
will redouble the efforts of this Congress to address this issue.
  But, given the enormous dimension of the problem already and the 
complete lack of consideration of any meaningful immigration bill by 
this Congress to solve a broken immigration system, I'm certainly not 
holding my breath.
  The zero-sum bill on the floor asks us to weigh one class of 
immigrants at the expense of another, in effect, trying to play 
politics and avoid solving our immigration crisis.
  I think it's time for a transparent and open debate. It's time for 
compromise. It's time to work in a bipartisan fashion to actually 
replace our broken immigration system with one that works for our 
country, one that strengthens our economy, one that creates jobs for 
Americans, one that makes our Nation's immigration system more humane 
and makes it workable and enforceable.
  This bill, for all its merits, for all its problems, I think, we, 
both proponents and opponents can agree it falls short on that account 
of fixing our broken immigration system and replacing it with one that 
works. It has no additional enforcement provisions, no border security 
provisions. It provides no requirement for people who are here 
illegally to get right with the law.
  Rather, it does create an excellent program to keep high-tech 
graduates here. It destroys another valuable program to keep people 
from countries other than Mexico and India and China and the UK here. 
It likely will increase illegal immigration by 10 or 20,000 a year, and 
provides no solution.
  So a difficult decision for all Members of this body. And I'd like to 
think that Members on both sides, hopefully, would agree that we can do 
better. We need to do better. We've been called upon by the voters of 
this country to do better.
  And I encourage, whether it's in this Congress or the next Congress, 
to take up the difficult but critical issue of replacing our broken 
immigration system with one that works for our country, creates 
prosperity for America, helps reduce our budget deficit, is humane, is 
enforceable. No one said it would be easy, but that's what the people 
send us here to do.
  And regardless of the outcome of this particular bill, we are simply 
taking another week in avoiding addressing the real issues of the 
immigration crisis in this country.
  I encourage my colleagues to vote against the rule, which was a 
closed process and doesn't allow for consideration of even 
noncontroversial amendments such as my EB-5 amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume
  To my good friend from Colorado, we agree on so many issues, 
particularly as it relates to immigration reform. We agree. I think 
this is the first step in regards to where we need to go. You have sold 
a very persuasive argument in regards to why it is so important, so 
important, that we have a STEM visa program; why it's important to us 
to keep that brain power that we educated in the United States, keep 

[[Page H6522]]

here in this country to support our businesses and our manufacturing so 
we can be more competitive on a global market. You have made my case on 
that argument.
  I'll agree with you that this immigration system that we have is 
broken. I wasn't here 2 years ago or 4 years ago when the Democrats 
were in power in both the House and the Senate and the Presidency, and 
they moved nothing forward that we're talking about today.

                              {time}  1310

  It's disappointing when you have all the levels of government and you 
don't accomplish anything as it relates to this. And now we want to 
turn it around and say that this is a flawed bill. At the end of the 
day, this meets the needs of our corporations of creating more jobs 
here in America, about putting more people to work, and it also 
rectifies an issue on the V-Visa program in regards to instead of 
having families split because someone has a legitimate green card as a 
resident here, that he has to be split or she has to be split from 
their family. The mother of their children or their children are kept 
from coming in the United States. Because today, the way the program 
is, they are kept from coming to the United States. So they don't have 
an opportunity to get a job, anyhow.
  But what this does do is it rectifies a problem that allows parents 
to be reunited with their children. I don't know, but that's important 
to me as a father of three. I would much rather have had my family here 
if I was a resident alien here. I would rather have my family here so I 
could reach out and touch them and help encourage them and move them 
forward in the American principles--that's what I would want to do--
versus trying to talk across great distances to try to bring a family 
together. That's no way to raise a family. But they do it because they 
have to. This rectifies that problem. While it doesn't allow them to go 
out and get a job, it does bring the family unit back together again. I 
know, Mr. Polis, you have a son. You would rather have your son with 
you than a thousand miles away, as I would.
  So this is a step in the right direction. This is moving us forward, 
not moving us backwards. This is actually taking an approach that 
should have been taken 4 years ago, and the Democrats punted it down 
the field. In September, we voted on this initial STEM bill and we had 
30 Democrats across the aisle vote with us. We didn't meet the 
threshold of two-thirds because it was under suspension.
  I truly believe that this bill has the ability to cut across the 
aisle. And we heard our good friend from Oregon talk about it--for the 
right reasons. Just because it's not perfect doesn't mean we should 
just throw it in the scrap heap. And I agree that we can pass this bill 
and send it to the Senate. The Senate has the option to bring it up, 
debate it, vote on it, amend it, and send it back to the House. Do your 
job. I agree that that's what they should do. At least have the 
discussion. When the Senate comes out and says, We're going to ignore 
it, we're not going to do anything with it, that's a disservice to the 
American public, it's a disservice to those that create jobs, and those 
Americans that need jobs.
  You talk about a zero sum game. This is not a way to reduce 
immigration. I don't know where my good friend got the numbers about 
how this is going to increase the number of illegal immigrants to this 
country. I've never heard that before. I've never seen anything in 
writing as relates to that. I'm not saying it's not true, but I don't 
know that. I think it just sounds like a good number. What we don't 
want to do is scare people to be opposed to something that is good for 
  We made an investment as a Nation in these foreign students when they 
came here, when we allowed them here in the STEM fields. Why let that 
investment leave? Why would we ignore that investment and say, you know 
what? we don't care, when it has a direct negative impact on this 
country--not on any other country--on this country it has a direct 
negative impact. It's just common sense. And I guess that's the 
problem. Sometimes common sense and Washington, D.C., are vast worlds 
  While looking at this, it's just a small, commonsense reform to our 
immigration policy. But what it does do is addresses a dangerous 
Diversity Visa problem. Even the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of 
State for Visa Services testified in front of the Judiciary Committee 
that visa lottery fraud includes multiple entries, fraudulent claims to 
education and work experience, pop-up spouses or family members, and 
false claims of employment or financial support in the United States. 
His words, not mine.
  For example, one third-party agent in Bangladesh entered every single 
name from a phone book in Bangladesh into the lottery system in order 
to extort money. If your name got pulled he would go to you and extort 
money so you can come to the United States. Or, guess what? Sell that 
winning slot to someone else.
  That's not what the whole program was designed for. I would suggest 
to you that students that are coming from foreign countries come 
across-the-board. We have them from China, we have them from the 
Ukraine, as you like to keep pointing out, and from all over the world 
to come to our universities, particularly for those STEM degrees, 
advanced degrees. So I would suggest to you that you're going to 
continue that diversity by getting people that have gone to the max 
that are going to be so productive here in America to help us. It's not 
a sum game. It's just a rational game.
  I really wish that I knew that if we passed this today, that it would 
become law. The President has already kind of said he wouldn't sign it. 
I don't know how you can have it both ways, Mr. Speaker. When we talk 
about STEM, those individuals who have come to our universities and 
graduate with a degree in those STEM sciences, how we can just ignore 
them and say, Listen, this is good for America.
  Instead of making this a Republican or Democratic idea, why don't we 
just pass it because it's the right idea? Let's do something for once 
that's good for America. Let's do something once that's good for those 
green card holders that are currently here in the United States, 
bringing their families together so they can become productive in 
whatever sense their family decides. Wouldn't we want to do that? I 
would want to do that. I want to see families reunited, not split 
apart, not kept because of some arcane rule that's going to take them 6 
or 7 years, maybe, to get a green card so they can bring their family 
here in the United States, where this would allow them to come 1 year 
after being on the waiting list, they get the opportunity to come here 
and be reunited with their family.
  For all that we hear about Democrats are always for families, this 
time I guess they're not. This time I guess because they're from some 
other country, maybe they're just not that important. They are to me. I 
think it's important. Here's once where the Republicans are stepping 
forward on an immigration issue that's good for America, it's good for 
the people that are currently here on green cards legally. It allows 
them to reinvest. How can this be bad for America? Is it because it's a 
Republican idea? Is that the reason why this is a bad piece of 
politics? I would hope not. I would hope that my colleagues across the 
aisle will be like Mr. Blumenauer from Oregon and look at the real 
merits of it.
  While not perfect in any sense of the word, as is any legislation 
that comes out of this place, at least it's a move and a step in the 
right direction. And let the Senate do their job. Let the Senate bring 
it up. Let the Senate vote on it and amend it and send it back to the 
House. Let the Senate for once do their job. And then, Mr. President, 
you can make a decision whether you're going to veto it or not. But 
let's quit playing politics with immigration.
  Mr. Speaker, I do want to thank my good friend from Colorado because 
we agree on so many issues as it relates to this. We just don't agree 
on everything.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the 
previous question on the resolution.
  The previous question was ordered.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose H. Res. 
821, the Rule providing for the consideration of H.R. 6429 ``STEM Jobs 
Act,'' a bill which eliminates the Diversity Visa Program.
  Nearly 15 million people, representing about 20 million with family 
members included, registered late last year for the 2012 Diversity Visa 
Program under which only 50,000 visa

[[Page H6523]]

winners were to be selected via random selection process.
  Each year, diversity visa winners make up about 4% of all Legal 
Permanent Resident (LPR) admissions.

                           SEEDS OF DIVERSITY

  Unlike every other visa program, its express purpose is to help us 
develop a racially, ethnically, and culturally-diverse population. It 
serves a unique purpose and it works. In recent years, African 
immigrants have comprised about 50% of the DV program's beneficiaries.
  Diversity Visa immigrants succeed and contribute to the U.S. economy. 
According to the Congressional Research Service, in FY 2009 Diversity 
Visa immigrants were 2.5 times more likely to report managerial and 
professional occupations than all other lawful permanent residents.
  The Diversity Visa program promotes respect for U.S. immigration 
laws. It reduces incentives for illegal immigration by encouraging 
prospective immigrants to wait until they win a visa, as opposed to 
attempting to enter without permission.

                     U.S. FOREIGN POLICY INTERESTS

  The Diversity Visa sustains the American Dream in parts of the world 
where it represents the only realistic opportunity for immigrating to 
the U.S.
  Former Rep. Bruce Morrison--one of the architects of the Diversity 
Visa--testified in 2005 that the program advances a principle that is 
``at the heart of the definition of America''; the principle that ``all 
nationalities are welcome.''
  Ambassador Johnny Young, Executive Director of Migration and Refugee 
Services, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, testified at a 2011 
Judiciary Committee hearing: ``The Program engenders hope abroad for 
those that are all too often without it--hope for a better life, hope 
for reunification with family in the United States, and hope for a 
chance to use their God-given skills and talents.''


  During the Judiciary Committee's markup of a bill earlier this year 
to kill the Diversity Visa program, I offered an amendment directing 
the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State to report to Congress on 
steps that could be taken to further eliminate fraud and security risks 
in the Diversity Visa program. Rather than vote to fix the program and 
defend legal immigration and diversity in our immigrant pool, every 
Republican on the Committee who was present voted down the amendment.
  Once again I offered 2 amendments in Rules Committee to protect the 
Diversity Visa Program, and once again the Republican majority on the 
Committee voted against it.


  No substantive evidence has been given that the Diversity Program 
poses a significant risk to our national security. There are 
organizations like Numbers USA who are not just advocating against 
illegal immigration but also wish to place caps on or decrease legal 
immigration as well.
  As former Congressman Bruce Morrison testified in 2005: ``[I]t is 
absurd to think that a lottery would be the vehicle of choice for 
terrorists.'' 12 to 20 million people enter the Diversity Visa lottery 
each year and no more than 50,000 visas are available.
  In 2007, GAO ``found no documented evidence that DV immigrants . . . 
posed a terrorist or other threat.''
  Diversity Visa recipients go through the same immigration, criminal, 
and national security background checks that all people applying for 
Lawful Permanent Residence undergo. They also are interviewed by State 
Department and Department of Homeland Security personnel.


  Since the State Department OIG first raised concerns about fraud in 
1993, significant changes have been made. In 2004, State implemented an 
electronic registration system. This allows State to use facial and 
name recognition software to identify duplicate applications and to 
share date with intelligence and law enforcement agencies for necessary 
immigration and security checks.
  In 2012 there was an incident where 20,000 people were erroneously 
notified that they were finalists in the Diversity program. They would 
have the opportunity to enter the lottery. The OIG investigated and 
found this was due to a computer error. There was no evidence of 
intentional fraud, as a safety precaution and because of the principle 
of fairness the State Department did the lottery again.
  The Diversity Visa program has led the way in applying cutting edge 
technology to reduce fraud and increase security. The program was one 
of the first in the government to use facial recognition software to 
analyze digital photographs.
  I join the vast majority of my Democratic colleagues in supporting an 
expansion of the STEM program. H.R. 6429 attempt to increase the STEM 
Visa program is an admirable one; however, I firmly believe it should 
not come at the expense of the Diversity Immigration Visa Program and 
should include a broader range of institutions.
  I firmly support Rep. Lofgren's bill, H.R. 6412 which is a clean STEM 
Visa bill and creates a visa program for students graduating with 
advanced STEM degrees from U.S. research universities, without 
eliminating the Diversity Visa Program.
  Frankly, it appears there are Republicans who have been needlessly 
targeting this program, as a means to decrease legal immigration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the resolution.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 243, 
nays 170, not voting 19, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 611]


     Barton (TX)
     Bass (NH)
     Bishop (UT)
     Bono Mack
     Brady (TX)
     Broun (GA)
     Burton (IN)
     Coffman (CO)
     Donnelly (IN)
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Franks (AZ)
     Gingrey (GA)
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (MO)
     Griffin (AR)
     Griffith (VA)
     Hastings (WA)
     Herrera Beutler
     Huizenga (MI)
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger (IL)
     Lewis (CA)
     Lungren, Daniel E.
     McCarthy (CA)
     McMorris Rodgers
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Murphy (PA)
     Poe (TX)
     Price (GA)
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Ross (AR)
     Ross (FL)
     Ryan (WI)
     Scott (SC)
     Scott, Austin
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Thompson (PA)
     Turner (NY)
     Walsh (IL)
     Wilson (SC)
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)
     Young (IN)


     Bass (CA)
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Brown (FL)
     Carson (IN)
     Castor (FL)
     Clarke (MI)
     Clarke (NY)
     Connolly (VA)
     Curson (MI)
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (IL)
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Hastings (FL)
     Jackson Lee (TX)
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lewis (GA)

[[Page H6524]]

     Lofgren, Zoe
     McCarthy (NY)
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Pastor (AZ)
     Pingree (ME)
     Price (NC)
     Rothman (NJ)
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Smith (WA)
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Van Hollen
     Walz (MN)
     Wasserman Schultz
     Wilson (FL)

                             NOT VOTING--19

     Frank (MA)
     Lee (CA)
     Murphy (CT)
     Turner (OH)

                              {time}  1342

California changed their vote from ``yea'' to ``nay.''
  So the resolution was agreed to.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
  Stated against:
  Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, on rollcall 611, I was away from the Capitol 
due to prior commitments to my constituents. Had I been present, I 
would have voted ``nay.''