Rep. Lofgren introduces IDEA Act to fuel U.S. economy, make U.S. immigration system more efficient

Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) yesterday introduced H.R. 2161, the Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America (IDEA) Act of 2011, which, as its title explains, aims at amending "the Immigration and Nationality Act to promote innovation, investment, and research in the United States."

According to Rep. Lofgren's website, major provisions of the legislation would include permitting American employers to seek green cards for advanced degree graduates in STEM fields from the most distinguished U.S. universities, creating jobs by awarding green cards to entrepreneurs who create new jobs for at least ten American workers and entrepreneurs who agree to establish new start-up businesses in the U.S., as well as protecting American workers by increasing wages and reforming the H1-B and L-1 visa categories.

The fees generated by the planned reforms would be invested in the American educational system "to better prepare American students for the jobs of tomorrow."

Discussing the bill on her website, Lofgren explains:

"It makes no sense for us to educate the world's brightest students and then ship them back to their home countries to compete against us. My bill would allow some of the world's sharpest minds to stay in the United States and help us grow our economy. For generations, immigrants have flocked to our shores to build their dreams, and in turn they have grown our economy and provided hundreds of thousands of jobs to their fellow Americans. Companies like Intel, Google, News Corps, Yahoo, and eBay were founded by innovative immigrants and now employ tens of thousands of people. ... My bill embraces that history and encourages the world's thinkers and doers to join us."

H.R. 2161 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee for consideration. The bill is co-sponsored by 13 members of the House of Representatives, including House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Ops member Adam Schiff (D-CA).

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