WASHINGTON, D.C. and SAN FERNANDO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Today, one day after forcing a Rules Committee vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) forced a vote of the entire United States House of Representatives on H.R. 15, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation introduced in the House.
H.R. 15 was offered as a parliamentary motion, added to H.R. 4438, the American Research and Competitiveness Act, which is being debated on the House floor this week.
The motion, mimicking the amendment offered by Cárdenas last night, failed by a final vote of 191-225, with no Republicans voting in favor of the legislation. The stand-alone version of H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, is a bipartisan bill with 199 co-sponsors, including three Republicans.
This was the fourth time Cárdenas has forced a debate and majority-rules vote on H.R. 15. The previous three attempts were in committee hearings. Despite these efforts, Speaker John Boehner has failed to allow a full House debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform as a stand-alone bill.
The legislation being modified, H.R. 4438, would extend research and development tax credits which have been extended 15 times since being introduced in 1981.
It would increase the deficit by $155.5 billion and contains no offsets to pay for this deficit spending.
“What we are actually doing is creating more funding for research and development, while ignoring hundreds of thousands of the best and brightest researchers in our nation, students who will come out of our research universities and immediately get sent home to another country,” said Cárdenas on the floor of the U.S. House. “They will build economies overseas while we fall behind.”
According to the Partnership for a New American Economy, by 2018, America will face a projected shortfall of over 200,000 holders of advanced degrees in STEM areas. Yet, more than half of all PhDs graduating with degrees in these fields from U.S. universities are foreign-born.
This year, the full allotment of H-1B visas for skilled workers was expended in only five days. To change this, H.R. 15 would create a new nonimmigrant investor visa and immigrant investor visa. STEM graduates will have green cards “stapled” to their diplomas.
“There isn’t a better way to pay for these tax credits, and to expand research and development, than by creating jobs, raising revenue, and supercharging our economy,” continued Cárdenas.
Every available statistic verifies the importance of an effective immigration policy in rebuilding the American economy. In fact, forty percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. More than three-quarters of patents by the top 10 patent-producing colleges and universities in the United States had at least one foreign-born inventor credited.