Immigration reform stalled at least another year, or more

No one thinks of technical immigration reform and the STEM Jobs Act. They should, as it impacts our country.

The more politics gets into the picture relating to immigration reform, the less clarity we get as a whole on the issue, which isn’t really any surprise. Consider the STEM Jobs Act, a Republican reform bill intended to grant more visas to highly-skilled immigrants. It’s on stall. It was supposed offer 55,000 visas under the Diversity Immigrant Visa program to foreign-born students with American grad degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

On the face of it, it sounds like a good idea. However, as with all things political, the Democrats had their own ideas — another alternative, which would keep the Diversity program. And that was when the whole thing hit the rails. No one, predictably, could agree on anything, and the issue was shelved. Whether it resurfaces for debate after the election is anyone’s guess. If it does, the main ingredient, a large dose of political ego, mixed with divergent opinions, will most likely focus on who want diversity over fast-tracking skilled immigrants.

The Republicans have a great number of supporters for their position, which while a nice gesture from tech lobbyists, does nothing to break up a stall in the House. At issue is a move to help the nation create jobs, spur on innovation to move the economy forward and boost our competitiveness as a nation in the STEM fields. In other words, make the U.S.A. more competitive in the global marketplace. However, Democrats seem to not like this idea, and appear to be more focused on creating mayhem, instead of mutual agreement.

Democrats point fingers at the Republicans and say with a tinge of horror in their voices that they only want to increase legal immigration for immigrants by getting rid of legal immigration for immigrants they really don’t want in the first place. It truly makes one’s head spin, but should come as no surprise that, once again, the House is divided, and in the throes of another tempest in the teapot.

What do politicians really want? They say they want comprehensive immigration reform, and then spend their days arguing piecemeal ideas, Bills, Acts and proposals. It’s no wonder immigration reform is getting nowhere rapidly. Should quickie changes take precedence over reforming the whole system? And if so, how will that impact the whole system later? Anyone have any ideas? The politicians obviously do not.

Sally Odell — Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit