Visa Reform Advances in Senate as House Offers STEM Ideas

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Science  31 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6136, pp. 1027
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6136.1027

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Efforts to overhaul U.S. immigration policy often generate more show than substance. Last week, they produced both: a three-ring circus of activity that pushed reform ahead without deciding what Congress ultimately will do. Most attention focused on the U.S. Senate, where a committee last week won bipartisan agreement on a path to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants. But members of the U.S. House of Representatives also shared the limelight. Republican leaders demonstrated their piecemeal approach to immigration reform with a bill that would ease the entry of skilled foreign labor in ways that paralleled the Senate legislation. And a bipartisan group of House members continued work on a broader immigration proposal that is expected to include STEM provisions. The overhaul effort faces numerous obstacles, however. Some labor specialists, for example, worry that the Senate bill does too little to protect U.S. STEM workers from immigrant competition.