Trump Targets Visa Program He Says Hurts American Workers
20 April, 2017, 11:07 | Author: Valerie Burke
The biggest target is the H-1B visa program, which is created to help technology firms fill jobs requiring special skills but which critics say often is used to replace American workers with lower-paid foreign competitors.
"We are sending a powerful signal to the world: We're going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and finally put America first", said Trump at Snap-On in Wisconsin Such a move would ensure businesses put U.S. workers first and reduce the abuse of the current visa program.
Trump campaigned on a promise to use the powers of the presidency to encourage companies to buy American products and hire American workers, and the officials portrayed the order as a step toward fulfilling the pledge.
"We are sending a powerful signal to the world: We're going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and finally put America first", Trump said. "Instead, they should be given to the most skilled and highest paid applicants and they should never, ever be used to replace Americans", Trump said.
H-1B visas are used to fill the USA skills gap, but critics, including the Trump administration have voiced concern about abuse of the program.
"I know he won't because he made a promise he's going to fix this for the hard working men and women, and we can't bankrupt the middle class of this country to give them insurance in name only", Trump Jr. said.
About 85,000 H-1B visas are distributed annually by lottery.
"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.
When asked by reporters what policy changes will take effect immediately after Trump signed the order, a senior administration official detailed how the president is really asking for self-assessments from a range of federal agencies. They then send those workers back to their own countries to work remotely, and fire the USA workers who trained them.
There have been several bills introduced in recent months to reform the H-1B visa system, including a bipartisan bill from Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin who have been pushing to revamp the program for years. Many work in the tech industry.
He said that cutting regulations and getting tax reform are important, but even more critical is Trump's "America first" rhetoric.
If the H-1B program is restricted, skilled foreign workers would have to remain in their native countries, says Shika Bhatnagar.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton consistently pointed to the manufacturing of Trump-branded products overseas as an example of the businessman's hypocrisy on the issue of promoting domestic industry.
The secretary of commerce is tasked by the order with looking to streamline existing rules on federal construction projects. In the future, it's likely that these companies are going to have to work a lot harder to prove their hires aren't undercutting American workers.
Trump carried Wisconsin in November by almost 23,000 votes - less than 1 percentage point - making him the first Republican to win the state since 1984.
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