May 06, 2014



(Washington, DC ) -- Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) forced another debate and vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives.

During a Rules Committee hearing, Cárdenas offered H.R. 15, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation introduced in the House, as an amendment to H.R. 4438, the American Research and Competitiveness Act. The amendment was co-sponsored by Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Joe Garcia (D-FL).

Cárdenas’ amendment was denied by a party-line voice vote. H.R. 4438 will come to the floor with a “closed” rule, allowing no amendments whatsoever.

This was the third time Cárdenas has forced a committee-level open debate and majority-rules vote on H.R. 15. That debate has been consistently denied on the House floor.

“There is no better way to improve the competitiveness of American research and development than by passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” said Cárdenas. “Every day we lose 2,000 new jobs because of our rigid, broken immigration system.

“Fixing this system will supercharge our economy and allow some of the brightest scientists and researchers in the world to stay in our country. They train and learn here, but instead of helping create a new American economy, they are forced to leave.”

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.

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.

“Not only will Comprehensive Immigration Reform create more than 120,000 jobs a year, including these critical research and development positions, but H.R. 15 would also lower the deficit by $900 billion dollars, easily paying for these tax credits,” said 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.