The US House of Representatives passed a controversial bill this morning that would grant 55,000 new visas to foreigners who graduate from US universities with science, technology, engineering or math degrees (so-called STEM graduates). The vote comes just two days after the Obama administration said it was opposed to the bill. The bill, called the STEM Jobs Act, passed on a 245-139 vote mostly along party lines, with about two dozen Democrats joining Republicans in supporting the bill, according to a report from the blog The Hill. Most Democrats opposed the bill, though, because the STEM Jobs Act adds the 55,000 new visas at the cost of a diversity-visa program that grants the same number of visas to countries with historically low levels of immigration to the US. About half of the diversity visas would go to African immigrants, and some minority Democratic representatives today accused the bill of being shortsighted or even racist. Shutting down the main program that provides visas to African immigrants “is racist, if not in its intent, then certainly in its effect,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), according to The Hill report.
House passes GOP immigration bill for science, math grads