The spokesman for an immigration reform organization thinks it
would be a big mistake for Congress to pass legislation making it
easier for highly skilled foreign workers to immigrate to the
Recently House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX)
introduced the "STEM Jobs Act of 2012." Under that legislation,
foreign graduates with a degree in the fields of science,
technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from a U.S.
university would be able to petition for a green card. The measure
makes available 55,000 immigrant visas a year for such
"We could boost economic growth and spur job creation by
enabling American employers to hire some of the best and brightest
graduates of U.S. universities," Smith offered in a statement released September 20. "These
students become entrepreneurs, patent holders, and job
But Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for
American Immigration Reform, is not so optimistic. He believes
H.R. 6429 will ultimately discourage American citizens from seeking
careers in STEM fields.
"We've all been told that
there are lots of jobs that Americans won't do. Now we're hearing
that there are jobs Americans can't do," he laments. "You have to
wonder at some point what jobs are going to be left for American
workers when all the special interests finally get what they
While Mehlman acknowledges the intent of the legislation makes
sense, he does not agree with this particular implementation.
"The fact of the matter is we do need to move to a more
skills-based immigration policy, but that doesn't mean we should
just blindly accept people based on the fact that they meet certain
criteria. We need to be selective," he says. "We need to understand
that it's going to have an impact on other people -- and that's the
reason we have immigration laws in the first place."
Mehlman says the government needs to establish criteria for
admitting immigrants in limited numbers who will most likely serve
the best interests of the country -- not simply admit everyone who
happens to have STEM skills.
According to Congressman Smith's statement, the STEM Jobs Act
protects American workers by requiring potential employers of STEM
graduates to advertise positions and give preference to qualified
H.R. 6429 has been endorsed by groups such as the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce, The Society for Human Resource Management, and The
Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.