3:41 PM EDT
Lamar S. Smith, R-TX 21st

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

When it comes to STEM fields--science, technology, engineering, and math--American universities set the standard. Our STEM graduates create the innovations and new businesses that fuel our economic growth and create jobs.

Many of the world's top students come to the U.S. to obtain advanced STEM degrees. But what happens to these foreign students after they graduate? Under the current system, we educate scientists and engineers only to send them back home where they often work for our competitors.

We could boost economic growth and spur job creation by enabling American employers to hire some of the best and brightest graduates of U.S. universities. These students become entrepreneurs, patent holders, and job creators.

The STEM Jobs Act makes available 55,000 immigrant visas a year for foreign graduates of American universities with advanced degrees in STEM fields.

Three-quarters of likely voters strongly support such legislation, and a wide range of trade associations have endorsed this legislation as well. These include the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Compete America, the Information Technology Industry Council, and the Society for Human Resource Management.

To protect American workers, employers who hire STEM graduates must advertise the position; and if a qualified American worker is available, the STEM graduate will not be hired.

This bill makes our immigration system smarter by admitting those who have the education and skills America needs. STEM visas are substituted for Diversity Visas which invite fraud and pose a security risk.

The STEM Jobs Act generates jobs, increases economic growth, and benefits American businesses. What more do we want?

Let's put the interest of our country first and support this legislation.

I reserve the balance of my time.