Well, Democrats almost stopped short of calling it racist, but it seems they just couldn’t help themselves. The Republican-led House today took a step toward its version of immigration reform by passing the STEM Jobs Act, which would reallocate up to 55,000 green cards from a diversity program and direct them to foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
The bill would also cut to one year the wait for spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents to come to the U.S.
Most people would find it difficult to call such an immigration policy racist, but Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) found a way. While the Congressman said that he wasn’t accusing anybody of racism, he insisted the program was racist in its effect if not intent.
“Republicans have just received historically low votes from minorities in the past election, yet they want to create an immigration system that gives visas with one hand while taking visas away from minorities with the other,” he told lawmakers. “It is a Trojan horse, and the ugly head of racism will rear its ugly head if this Trojan horse, H.R. 6429, becomes law.” Really?
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he was “personally insulted” by the charge.
Many lawmakers, though, including New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, praised the Republican effort to create technology jobs.
Some, though, are less concerned with importing highly skilled immigrants than with filling STEM jobs with American candidates.