The House of Representatives recently passed the STEM Jobs Act. This bill would give close to 50,000 immigrants with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math a green card. The legislation also expedites the waiting period for families of legal immigrants. After waiting one year for their green cards to be processed, spouses and minor children of legal immigrants will be able to immigrate to the United States.
The economic benefits of the bill are obvious. Any major economic growth will be due to advances in technology. Innovation and creativity are the backbone of an entrepreneurial society. Businesses, through innovation, can become more productive. Due to increased productivity, growth occurs through more hiring and investments. Businesses become richer. Individuals become richer. The drawing in of bright minds through the passage of this bill will ultimately let the beauty of the free market unravel. Economically, it is something the country could benefit from.
While the vote for the STEM Act was primarily based upon party line, the vote shows the double standard that Democrats employ when it comes to immigration. Since the election, the GOP has been painted as the party of angry, white men who hate minorities. However, this bill was passed in spite of Democrats. The Democrats’ refusal to support the STEM Act will have a tremendously negative impact on a key part of their coalition – Latinos.
The family reunification provision would largely benefit Latino immigrants. Currently, only 80,000 family reunification green cards are given out. But there are 322,000 spouses and minor children who wait for more than two years to rejoin their loved ones. Mexico has the most people on the waiting list, with 138,000 people. This is followed by the Dominican Republic with 31,000 and Cuba with 16,000.
Streamlining the waiting period would give families an opportunity to come back together and live under one roof. The family reunification element of the bill should pass every reasonable conservative standard. As a country that prides itself on family values, it is essential that policies not break families apart. Yet it is the Democrats’ intransigence which is preventing the passage of humane immigration reform which can bring families together.