A House vote to offer permanent residency to foreign students earning certain advanced degrees is setting the stage for a bigger battle next year on how to redesign the nation's flawed immigration system.
House Republicans, with the help of a minority of Democrats, are expected to prevail in passing the bill, which would provide up to 55,000 green cards a year to foreign students graduating from U.S. colleges and universities with masters and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
But the bill is unlikely to go anywhere this year in the Senate, and the White House opposes it. Democrats say it offsets the increase in visas for highly educated foreigners by ending a program allotting visas for Africa and other areas with low immigration rates.
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