Trump signs 'Buy American, Hire American' order

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20 April, 2017

Senior administration officials say that the order will also strengthen rules that bar foreign contractors from bidding on federal government projects.

"Buy American" provisions also may run afoul of free trade agreements, though the White House wants to conduct a full review before seeking adjustments to those trade agreements. The executive order will make reforms to raise the bar for foreign workers and will select only highly-skilled applicants.

"NAFTA has been very, very bad for our country. Everyone in my administration will be expected to enforce every last Buy American provision on behalf of the American worker, and we are going to investigate every single trade deal that undermines these provisions", he said.

About 85,000 H-1B visas are distributed annually by lottery. But like many of his previous executive orders, the order will largely call on cabinet secretaries to fill in the details with reports and recommendations about what the administration can legally do. Significant changes to the H-1B program, however, would likely require legislation or regulation, and, there is, a substantial period of time between when administrative or legislative changes are announced, and when they are implemented (if at all). "Measures to protect American workers will not be successful if they are applied selectively".

The administration announced that it will suspend "premium processing", a process where USA employers will be expected to wait several months before the H-1B foreign workers can enter the country. We've talked to several tech startups that have had difficulty hiring the uniquely highly skilled workers that are integral to their startups' success (and are often trained at IL universities).

On the planned order by Trump, Ronil Hira, a professor in public policy at Howard University and a critic of the H-1B program, said, "It's better than nothing". But he added, "It's not as aggressive as it needs to be".

"The Justice Department will not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against USA workers", said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division. Several bills have been proposed in Congress to end the lottery system.

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There's at least one thing Sen. "Simply reviewing the programme is too little, too late", Senator Dick Durbin said.

A senior administration official explained the rationale behind the change by saying many of those visas going to contract workers from overseas force wages down in the USA or completely wipe out positions for Americans.

That needs to change, President Donald Trump said in a message to Americans on Tuesday in his speech at Snap-on Tools in Kenosha.

Trump carried Wisconsin in November by under 23,000 votes — less than 1 percentage point — making him the first Republican to win the state since 1984.

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

"Right now, widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers of all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries", President Trump said. He faces an approval rating of just 41 percent in the state, which he barely won in November. Founded in 1920, Snap-On is headquartered in Kenosha, Wis., and was a symbolic choice for the event. It has eight manufacturing sites in North America and employs about 11,000 people worldwide.


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