Tech Giants Urge Passage of STEM Green Card Bill
Rep. Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, may be getting ready to support legislation to grant green cards to holders of advanced degrees in the so-called STEM fields. The Texas republican, the gatekeeper on immigration bills in the House, is being urged to take action by a broad coalition of groups, including some of the largest technology companies — Apple, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Microsoft, as well as the IEEE-USA.
There have been repeated attempts over the years to make it easier for foreign students to remain here after earning advanced degrees in STEM fields at U.S. universities. Typically, these students seek a temporary H-1B work visa before applying for permanent residency. Bills to grant permanent residency or employment-based green cards to foreign graduates have stalled because of the deadlock over comprehensive immigration reform. But in a recent statement Smith said the country “cannot afford to train these foreign graduates in the U.S. and then send them back home to work for our competitors.”