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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley, Paulsen Introduce Bipartisan Immigration Bill Encouraging American Innovation

Apr 30, 2015
Press Release

STAPLE Act exempts STEM Ph.D. graduates from H-1B and Green Card caps

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03)  introduced the bipartisan Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy (STAPLE) Act, which would exempt foreign-born individuals who have earned an American Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from the limits on the number of employment-based green cards and H-1B visas awarded annually. 

“America’s leadership in research and technology is being threatened by our current immigration system that sends foreign-born, but U.S. educated, students back home to compete against us after earning advanced degrees. This not only puts U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage, but also jeopardizes our ability to innovate and create jobs,” said Rep. Quigley. “Allowing immigrants who are highly-skilled, American educated professionals to stay in the U.S. will improve our quality of life, keep our country competitive, and draw the best and brightest minds to America. Investing in STEM educated professionals is one of the best ways we can invest in our future, and the STAPLE Act does just that.”

“It’s a product of our broken immigration system that we often kick out or turn away the best and brightest minds and force them to return to their home countries where they end up becoming our competitors,” said Rep. Paulsen. “Thousands of jobs go unfilled because of the high demand for employees in STEM-related fields. The STAPLE Act keeps innovation and skill in the U.S. to create more jobs and a healthier economy.”

"We commend Reps. Paulsen and Quigley for introducing the bipartisan STAPLE Act to retain the best and brightest minds who have been educated at our leading universities," said Dean Garfield, President and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice for the technology sector's leading companies. "The choice is simple, we can either keep our highly educated students here to help America innovate, create new jobs, and win in the global economy; or we can send them back home to compete against us.”

Joining Reps. Quigley and Paulsen in sponsoring the STAPLE Act is Congressman Jim Renacci (OH-16).

H1-B visas, also known as high-skilled visas, are subject to annual caps that are woefully short of the number necessary to fill high-skilled jobs. Since April 1 when the U.S. began accepting H1-B petitions, the U.S. has received 233,000 applications for these high-skilled visas. Only 65,000 will be available this year meaning that applicants will be subject to a lottery where two out of three applicants will be denied a visa.

Numerous studies have found that H1-B visas correspond with an increase in jobs for native citizens. For example, a 2011 American Enterprise Institute study found that “an additional 100 foreign-born workers in STEM fields with advanced degrees from US universities is associated with an additional 262 jobs among U.S. natives.”

Rep. Quigley has been a staunch advocate of comprehensive immigration reform throughout his time in Congress and has pushed Congress to pass a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. He was a strong supporter of the DREAM Act, giving everyone born in the United States an opportunity to attend college or serve in the military. Rep. Quigley used his position on the House Appropriations Committee to highlight the need for Congress to protect undocumented immigrants from abuse in detention centers, reject unconstitutional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers and end a mandated detention bed quota that wastes millions of dollars annually.

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