This morning in the 10 am ET hour on the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) spoke about today’s expected debate on a bill to create a visa program for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) graduates of U.S. universities and colleges by eliminating the Diversity Visa Program.
The debate on a Republican proposal introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is expected later today (it is reported to be scheduled after last votes, approx. 4:30-5:00 p.m. ET today). Rep. Gutierrez will vote against passage of the GOP STEM visa measure under consideration. Rep. Gutierrez is an original co-sponsor of a bill (HR 6412) authored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) that would create a STEM visas program without eliminating other visa programs.
In his speech this morning, Rep. Gutierrez said:
“The Democratic plan is…simple. We need scientists and engineers and mathematicians – but we need other workers too. Landscapers, construction workers, machinists, chefs, entrepreneurs. […]
“That’s not the Republican plan today. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this proposal comes from a party whose Presidential nominee doesn’t care about 47 percent of America. Call it the Mitt Romney deadbeat doctrine – half of all Americans are freeloaders. And maybe that’s all we need to know about this Republican plan.”
A video of his speech is here:
The full text of Congressman Gutierrez’ remarks this morning (as prepared for delivery) is below.
REP. LUIS V. GUTIERREZ
SEPTEMBER 20, 2012
Mr. Speaker/Madame Speaker,
Today we will vote on a Republican proposal to provide green cards to certain immigrants and to cut the same number of green cards available to other legal immigrants.
How do we determine who gets more green cards, and who gets fewer?
For my Republican friends, that’s easy. They will provide more green cards to a very narrow number of immigrants they can tolerate: smart immigrants who have been educated in U.S. colleges and universities. They will make other legal immigrants, ones they can’t tolerate, pay for that increase.
Meanwhile, Democrats have introduced bills that would also provide green cards to the immigrants who have been educated in U.S. colleges and universities.
Our Democratic proposal, however, does not take green cards away from other deserving immigrants who want to come legally and contribute to this country.
On our side of the aisle, we respect all immigrants. Our bill recognizes the value of all of them to our economy and our future.
We should not educate some of the world’s most talented people in the STEM fields — that is science, technology, engineering, and math — and then send them away to work in foreign lands to compete against us.
Democrats strongly support providing these visas as a way of helping the U.S. economy and creating jobs, not just for the immigrants, but for the U.S. workers they will employ and the economic activity they will generate.
Democrats want progress. We want visas for STEM graduates. We’ll work in a bipartisan manner with Republicans to get it done. It’s a smart policy and a just policy.
And there is no reason – no economic reason, no budget reason, no jobs reason – to punish other immigrants because we give out STEM visas. None.
Let me try to make it simple.
Let’s pretend we’re not talking about immigrants – because any time some of my Republican friends hear the word “immigrants” they immediately want to punish someone.
Let’s say instead of immigrants, we’re talking about a family with three children. Three honest and hard-working children.
One child wants to go to college to become an industrial engineer. Another wants to go to college to become a math professor. The third – a diligent, industrious child, doesn’t want to go to college. Let’s say he wants to start a landscaping business.
The Republican plan is simple. Help the kids going to college and cut the other kid off. He’s out. Tough luck. Not smart enough for this family.
The Democratic plan is just as simple. We need scientists and engineers and mathematicians – but we need other workers too. Landscapers, construction workers, machinists, chefs, entrepreneurs.
Everyone who works hard helps our economy, so let’s be helpful to everyone. That’s our Democratic belief.
That’s not the Republican plan today.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.
After all, this proposal comes from a party whose Presidential nominee doesn’t care about 47 percent of America.
Call it the Mitt Romney deadbeat doctrine – half of all Americans are freeloaders.
And maybe that’s all we need to know about this Republican plan.
I suppose in the Republican world, STEM visas are for the half of America that works, and other visas are for deadbeats that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about.
You know, the freeloaders like your parents on social security or your son or daughter with a student loan.
Or like my parents who came here from Puerto Rico with an elementary school education, worked hard every day and put two kids in college and one in the U.S. Congress.
If they had needed visas, under this new plan they would never have gotten a chance. We’re changing the rules about who can, and more importantly, who cannot come to America.
So unless you view the world through Mr. Romney’s us-versus-them vision of America, there is no reason to cut visas today. None.
I want to stand up for the Democratic vision of immigration — the Democratic vision of America.
We’re not divided into a country where people who gather at fancy country clubs and write $50,000 checks to political candidates are good, and the people who stand around the table and serve them are bad.
American is not half deadbeats.
We’re one America — and we have a chance to prove it today.
Democrats are offering a sensible plan that doesn’t divide us. It values all work and all immigrants. It achieves our common goal of creating a STEM visa program and keeping more scientists and engineers in the country.
In Mitt Romney’s world, if you help one person, you should punish someone else.
I think that’s wrong.
I urge my colleagues to pass a fair and sensible bill to create a STEM visa program. And let’s do it without punishing a single person.