The U.S. House passed an immigration visa bill Friday that will make more green cards available to students with degrees in science and math, but the STEM Jobs Act also eliminates the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, the so-called "green card lottery."
Republicans, trying to mend fences with Hispanics after losing 71% of their votes in the presidential election, pushed the STEM Jobs Act to approval in a 245-139 vote. Many of the opposing votes were Democrats who object to the elimination of the green card lottery, a measure that President Obama also opposes.
Obama favors a comprehensive immigration reform plan that will overhaul the U.S. system and also include a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country.
The bill that passed Friday calls for making 55,000 new permanent residency visas available to foreigners with advanced degrees in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math). The bill is expected to go nowhere in Democratic-controlled Senate, where members favor keeping the diversity lottery and working on comprehensive reform.