WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats have blocked Republicans from bringing up an immigration bill offering permanent residence visas for advanced-degree foreigners that passed the House last week over the objections of most Democrats.
Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas sought unanimous consent to consider the bill that provides some 55,000 visas a year to those with masters and doctorate degrees from U.S. colleges in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
New York's Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democratic leader on immigration policies, objected to Cornyn's request.
House Republicans turned to the bill as a way to show Hispanics, who deserted them in the election, that they are serious about immigration legislation. But it met strong opposition from Democrats because it eliminated another visa program that benefits less-educated people, particularly from Africa.