STEM Jobs Act Bill Provision Would Benefit Latinos

STEM Jobs Act Bill Would Benefit Latinos

Latinos could be among the biggest beneficiaries of a provision of a Republican bill that allows spouses and minor children of legal immigrants to live in the United States while waiting for their green card application to be processed.

Latinos, specifically Mexicans, account for the largest group of legal permanent residents in the United States—numbering more than 3 million, according to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics.

The bill, called the STEM Jobs Act, is set to be debated and voted on in the House of Representatives by Friday. Its original focus when it was first introduced in September was to expand the number of green cards for international students who graduate with advanced degrees in science and technology from U.S. universities.

Read Related: Daniel Newell: Helping Latinos Land Silicon Valley Jobs

But the provision allowing spouses and children of green card holders (legal immigrants who are not naturalized U.S. citizens) to reunite here in this country before the completion of their residency application was not part of that original measure, which failed to pass over bi-partisan bickering over a part of the STEM Jobs Act that called for eliminating an annual immigration lottery.

There are some 80,000 of these family-based green cards allocated every year, but there are about 322,000 husbands, wives and children waiting in this category and on average people must wait more than two years to be reunited with their families.

Mexico has the most people on the waiting list, with more than 138,000 people, or 43 percent of  all people on the list, according to the U.S. State Department. The Dominican Republic is next, with nearly 31,000, followed by Cuba, with 16,000.

The measure is viewed by political observers as unlikely to become law, chiefly because it is being presented during a lame-duck session, and Democrats complain that Republicans did not consult with them about it. If it should pass the House, which is controlled by Republicans, it is not likely to get far in the Senate, where Democrats hold a majority. Read the full article on FOX NEWS Latino.