U.S. House of Representatives leadership plans to bring legislation sponsored by the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith (R-Texas), that would create a new Green Card category for foreigners who have received doctoral degrees from U.S. universities in science, technology, engineering, and math (the so-called STEM disciplines). Green cards not used by PhDs would be available to those with STEM master's degrees.
The idea that the government should "staple a Green Card to the diplomas" of foreign students who have earned an advanced degree at a U.S. university has been a favorite talking point of both Democrats and Republicans for years.
The vote gives Republicans the chance to support a fairly non-controversial piece of immigration legislation on an issue where Democrats have tried to claim the high ground.
The bill is heavily supported by the technology industry, which has been clamoring for STEM visas for years. The move comes as the traditionally Democratic leaning tech industry has begun more aggressively building relationships with top Republicans.