Skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

House Votes In Skilled Immigrant Bill

Audio

The U.S. House passed a bill Friday that would grant legal permanent residence to as many as 55,000 non-citizens who graduate with advanced degrees from U.S. universities.

— The U.S. House passed a bill Friday that would grant legal permanent residence to as many as 55,000 non-citizens who graduate with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. In Tucson, that news was met with some optimism by business owners who can employ these graduates.

It’s called the STEM Act, for people pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. It was a Republican proposal, one that would also kill off the green card diversity lottery and reallocate 55,000 slots a year to skilled workers.

Bob Breault is owner of an optics software company in Tucson.

"I think the handwriting is on the wall that we better get the STEM Act through so we can compete," he said.

He’s long been a proponent for an increase in the limits of skilled worker visas, the H1-B. So Breault’s optimistic that the STEM Act will ease the way into broader immigration reform.

Democrats have called the STEM Act a piecemeal approach, one created by Republicans to ingratiate themselves to non-white voters. But Republicans did add a provision that allows for spouses and minor children to eventually join green card holders here in the U.S. Next stop for the bill is the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.