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Gang of 4? Rubio, Coons Klobuchar, Hatch file high-skill immigration bill

Best theatrics part of this bill? Marco Rubio's Senate speech today when he wondered why PHds, etc. don't get a green card.

"That's crazy," Rubio said, starting to stammer at what he thinks is a no-brainer issue. "Not only..that...that's just..that's just.. That's cray-zee."

The proposal for this legislation will also appear in the more-celebrated Gang of Eight immigration plan proposed yesterday by Rubio et al. So let's call this the Gang of 4. Note: this posted was updated to reflect the fact that I can't add, having missed Coons.

Ok, here's the press release:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) today introduced legislation, the Immigration Innovation (I2) Act of 2013, to bring long-overdue reforms to the nation’s immigration laws for high-skilled workers.  The bill focuses on areas vital to ensuring the United States can maintain its competitiveness in the global economy: the quantity of employment-based nonimmigrant visas (H-1B visas), allowing for their growth depending on the demands of the economy while making reforms to protect workers; increased access to green cards for high-skilled workers by expanding the exemptions and eliminating the annual per country limits for employment based green cards; and reforming the fees on H-1B and green cards so those fees can be used to promote American worker retraining and education. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Mark Warner (D-Va,) are all original cosponsors of the bill.

"This bill is a common sense approach to ensuring that those who have come here to be educated in high-tech fields have the ability to stay here with their families and contribute to the economy and our society,” Hatch said. “It's a market-driven path forward to fulfilling a need in our immigration system and growing the economy. It's good for workers, good for businesses trying to grow, and good for our economy."

“America must be a country that makes things again, that invents things, that exports to the world, and to do that we need the world’s talent,” said Klobuchar. “Right now we’re educating and training our competition by sending students who obtain advanced degrees here in the U.S. back to their home countries. We don’t want them creating the next Medtronic or 3M in India, we want them creating it right here in Minnesota and across America.”

The bipartisan legislation is the result of constant outreach with leaders in the immigration community and high-tech industry.

“Our immigration system needs to be modernized to be more welcoming of highly skilled immigrants and the enormous contributions they can make to our economy and society,” said Rubio. “This reform is as much about modernizing our immigration system as it is about creating jobs. It'll help us attract more highly skilled workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, which will help our unemployed, underemployed or underpaid American workers find better jobs."

“The creativity, ingenuity, and determination that immigrants have brought to this county have been a large part of our economic success,” Coons said. “Our immigration system is broken, though, and as the Senate gets to work on comprehensive immigration reform, it’s important that we take steps to ensure that the world’s best and brightest do their work here in the United States. Inspiration is a precious resource, and if we want those ideas to be turned into job-creating innovations here in the U.S., we need to make it easier for those individuals to earn status here."

A summary of the bill is below (a pdf can be found HERE). The full text of the legislation can be found HERE.