WASHINGTON, D.C (Nov. 27, 2012) — U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) prepares to step down as House Judiciary Committee Chairman with a parting shot at immigrant communities by resurrecting a partisan special interest bill, the “STEM Jobs Act,” that was defeated by the House earlier this year.
This measure would increase visas for businesses seeking high-skilled workers, partly by eliminating the Diversity Visa program, which allots almost half of its visas to African immigrants.
Incredibly and cynically, the bill sponsors are trying to spin this re-do as a response to the 2012 election in which voters expressed support for comprehensive immigration reform. Make no mistake. Latinos, Asians, and the rest of the rising American electorate did not vote in record numbers for special interest legislation such as H.R. 6429. They voted for real reform.
SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina issued the following statement:
“After the Nov. 6 election, Republicans said they needed to alter their rhetoric on immigration to garner Latino support. But then they turn around and bring back a bill that favors businesses at the expense of other immigrants, and also would add more red tape and malfunction.
“While SEIU recognizes the benefits that could come from additional visas to businesses for high-skilled workers, this plan is no substitute for investment in the education of U.S. workers, and it certainly should not be done by taking away the opportunities and contributions of others who also require legal visas.
“What’s worse is the political trickery at play here. While some might be appeased by a plan that would allow permanent residents’ families to wait for their visas in the U.S., the family members would not be allowed to work under this proposal. Asking immigrants to wait years without working to help support their families is an unrealistic, ‘gotcha’ measure that would obviously lead to even more deportations and broken families. It’s clearly crumbs for employers and workers, versus the full loaf of economic benefits that would come from common sense immigration reform.
“Conservatives forget that voters are on to them. Voters know what’s real reform and what’s fake, and they know when one group benefits at the expense of another. H.R. 6429 no replacement for comprehensive immigration reform especially through this bill authored by Lmar Smith, who recently dismissed the public’s support for a path to citizenship as ‘the media’s predetermined notion.’
It’s time to get serious about real immigration reform that offers a realistic visa program so that diversity visas are honored, families are not separated and businesses get the visas required to support our economy.”