As expected, the last great hope for immigration reform quickly died in the United States Senate, as the Democratic majority will likely follow through on a promise to kill the STEMS Jobs Act. Engineering-starved tech firms have become a casualty of partisan bickering over how to overhaul the entire immigration system, with both Democrats and Republicans refusing to allow more high-skilled immigrants without changes to low-skilled visas. In other words, congress will have to accomplish a great feat of compromise before there are more high skilled immigrants…so don’t hold your breath.
The proposal to allow 55,000 more high-skilled visas for brainy graduates of American universities got stuck on a provision that would have dissolved the Diversity Immigrant Visa program for underrepresented nations. Even if the Senate had voted on STEM Jobs, the President has openly opposed the legislation, citing the need for comprehensive reform.
The current state of compromise in immigration was introduced with the GOP’s Achieve Act, which is similar to the Democrats proposal allow children of undocumented immigrants to stay in the country, but does not offer a pathway to citizenship. This satisfies the President’s desire to prevent deportation. The tech community has largely been hands-off with low-skilled immigration reform, but will have to get their hands dirty for Obama’s second term.