“In a global economy, we cannot afford to educate these foreign graduates in the U.S. and then send them back home to work for our competitors,” said Lamar Smith (R-TX), who sponsored the bill, in a statement. “This legislation will help us create jobs, increase our competitiveness, and spur our innovation.”
To level out the total number of immigrants allowed into the country each year, the legislation will also eliminate a lottery-based program to admit 50,000 people from under-represented countries. That trade-off was the reason only 26 Democrats supported this new bill when it was passed by a margin of 245 to 139 in the House just 2 months after it had been rejected under a regulation that required a two thirds majority vote. The new bill required a simple majority.