Titus Discusses the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform

Jul 18, 2013
Floor Statements

July 18, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s First District joined Congressman Cárdenas (CA-29) and House colleagues yesterday for a Special Order hour on the economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform. Below are her remarks:
“I thank the gentleman from California for yielding me time, and I also thank him for organizing this special order. 
“We’ve heard a lot on this floor and in the press and from our constituents about the moral, the social, the political reasons to enact comprehensive immigration reform, but we haven’t done enough talking about the economic aspects, so this is a good opportunity to do that. 
“I’m very pleased to say that in the Senate version of the comprehensive immigration reform bill there is a provision that has to do with increasing H-1B Visas. Those visas will bring with them increased jobs which will, of course, support the economy.
“A second part of that provision is also something that I have been urging my colleagues on the House side who are working on the comprehensive immigration reform bill to include. That provision would use the revenue from the high skilled H-1B Visas to promote STEM education at minority serving colleges and universities.
“You can just look at this chart and see how many new jobs will be created both in 2013 and 2014 by the increase in the number of these visas that would be allowed. Now if we increase the number of visas, we’re also going to increase the funds that come from companies that are willing to pay to bring people from outside the country here for these STEM jobs. Well, I say, let’s use those funds both to create scholarships for low-income minority students who are pursuing STEM degrees and also to provide funding for American colleges and universities that serve those minority students. We want our new citizens to also be well prepared citizens.
“There are colleges and universities all across the country—including several in the First District in Nevada—that are working hard to attract students to the STEM fields. Earlier this year the College of Southern Nevada hosted approximately 3,000 K-12 Nevada students at their annual science and technology expo, to get local students from all backgrounds, including from our minority communities, excited about careers in STEM fields before they enter college. Then in January the University of Nevada Las Vegas hosted a STEM summit to feature STEM research and to get students involved in presenting that research and their work in the STEM fields. 
“These are significant and important efforts to promote STEM, but our colleges and universities need our help to expand and improve their STEM outreach and training. By increasing access to STEM education we can help American and immigrant students gain the knowledge and skills they need in the sciences, technology, math, and engineering so they can compete for the jobs of tomorrow. 
“This is particularly critical for minority students who are significantly underrepresented in these fields. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2009 American Community Survey, only twelve percent of STEM workers in this country are African American or Hispanic. We can and should be doing better because a strong STEM workforce is important to American innovation and competitiveness. 
“So science and technology companies that are paying our government through the H-1B Visa program to bring foreign workers from the United States to fill these STEM jobs should be making contribution. Why not use these funds that they are paying to train Americans to have the skills to fill these jobs in the future? 
“Providing scholarships to STEM students and granting funding to colleges and universities that serve minority communities to improve STEM programs would strengthen our educational system; it would help our economy and also our position as a global leader in science and technology. So I would urge the Republican leadership to immediately take up the mantle of reform, make it law, and include these provisions for hi-tech visas using the funding for the visas to train our own students, many in minority communities, including the children of those immigrants we are working to help, for the jobs of the future. 
“Fixing our broken immigration system is not just a moral imperative but, as we are all discussing tonight, it is an economic necessity.”