A Republican bill that would put an end to the Green Card lottery program, failed in the US House of Representatives. According to this bill all the 55,000 visas that are granted through the DV lottery program will be granted to foreign nationals who graduate in the US universities in STEM fields. Such skilled graduates with advanced degrees will be granted permanent resident visas. But that bill failed in the US House of Representatives. The bill introduced by the Republican of Texas, Representative Lamar Smith, would have obviated the Green Card lottery program. Instead of granting 55,000 diversity immigrant visas to people from different eligible countries this bill would have granted those visas to STEM graduates. People who complete their advanced degrees in American universities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields would have received Green Cards through this bill. The lottery program currently grants those visas to foreign nationals who are citizens of underrepresented countries.
Congressional Republicans want to prove that they are ready to fix the immigration system, before the Presidential elections in November. The Democrats strongly opposed the elimination of the DV lottery program as they say that the elimination of the lottery program will reduce the immigration rates. However, both the Republicans and the Democrats agree that highly skilled STEM graduates must be kept in the country so that they can start working or they can start their own businesses after completing their degrees. After the vote, Mr. Smith said that the bill will help the United States to create jobs. Most foreign graduates are good innovators and by keeping them in the country, America’s competitiveness will increase. He also added that the votes of the Democrats would send the innovative foreign graduates to the competitors of America and he said that the votes of the democrats are against job creation and the economic growth of the country. Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, proposed a similar bill that would grant permanent resident visas to STEM graduates without abolishing the DV lottery program. Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, said that they oppose this bill that would replace an existing legal immigration program. Democrats do not want to abolish the Green Card lottery because many individuals who immigrate to the United States through this program are natives of Africa and other small Asian countries. Republicans said that the lottery program is open to fraud and is likely to create security risks. That is because terrorists may also use this lottery program to become permanent residents of the United States. This Republican bill was supported by the technology and business groups. Major employers, such as Adobe, Apple, Microsoft and Oracle, sent letters supporting the bill that would provide new visas to skilled workers. At present foreign STEM graduates who complete their advanced degrees have to leave the country and some of them remain in the country on temporary visas. This bill would have helped such skilled STEM graduates but the bill failed as it will eliminate DV lottery program.