Trump orders review of visa program to encourage hiring Americans

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 19, 2017

Trump promises to work with Wisconsin's congressional delegation to get a solution.

On the "hire American" front, the executive order directs federal agencies to more strictly enforce H1-B visa laws and propose reforms to the program to prevent fraud and abuse and ensure visas are awarded to the most-skilled applicants.

The moves show Mr Trump once again using his power to issue executive orders to try to fulfill promises he made a year ago in his election campaign, in this case to reform United States immigration policies and encourage purchases of USA products. Trump signed the order after visiting a tool factory at Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the Chicago-Milwaukee industrial corridor.

Although these visas, known as H-1B, aren't supposed to displace American workers, critics say the program mostly benefits consulting firms that let tech companies save money by contracting out their jobs to foreign workers.

The White House said the program is now undercutting American workers by bringing in cheaper labor and said some tech companies are using it to hire large numbers of workers and drive down wages.

Tuesday's order also seeks to strengthen requirements that American-made products be used in certain federal construction projects, as well as in various grant-funded transportation projects. His entourage was filled with others who share such "love", including Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker, who threatened to dispatch the national guard to crush mass worker protests in 2011, former Goldman Sachs executive and now Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is committed to destroying public education.

"It would be a mistake to close the door on high-skilled workers from around the world who can contribute to American businesses' growth and expansion and make the USA more competitive around the world", the business lobby said in a statement. He called it "very depressing". "And we should end it".

The H-1B visa program allows United States employers to hire foreign specialty workers in technical and highly-skilled fields, like engineering, medicine, mathematics, and science.

Trump administration says that the H1-B visa programme, which was originally created to bring in highly-qualified foreign workers to do high-end jobs, has been subverted by companies, which are bringing entry-level workers in the United States to replace American workers.

Employers from Walt Disney World to the University of California in San Francisco have laid off their tech employees and replaced them with H-1B visa holders.

Trump, during his presidential campaign, had called for a moratorium on H1-B visas, however, the executive order does not impose any such ban. But he added, "It's not as aggressive as it needs to be". The tech industry has argued that the H-1B program is needed because it encourages students to stay in the US after getting degrees in high-tech specialties - and because companies can't always find enough American workers with the skills they need.

Congress is considering several bills to overhaul the visa program. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from IL, and Sen.

Senator Chuck Grassley, an author of legislation to reform the H-1B and L-1 skilled work visa programs, said it is time to take action against the abuse of H-1B visa system.

Trump chose to sign the directive at Snap-on Inc., based in Wisconsin, a state he narrowly carried in November on the strength of support from white, working-class voters. The visit also would take him to the congressional district of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who won't be joining the president because he's on a bipartisan congressional trip visiting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries.

Trump has traveled to promote his agenda less than his recent predecessors.

Lauding American "grit" and "craftsmanship", Trump once again embraced the populist rhetoric that fueled his campaign during his remarks Tuesday, decrying the World Trade Organization as "another one of our disasters" and also calling the NAFTA free trade deal a "complete and total disaster". Trump now has only a 41 percent approval rating in the state.

Snap-on makes hand and power tools, diagnostics software, information and management systems, and shop equipment for use in various industries, including agriculture, the military and aviation.

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