Donald Trump promised to make “Buy American and Hire American” a cornerstone of his populist platform.
Globalists like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan oppose Trump’s economic nationalism.
But Trump is set to sign an executive order and it’s is bad news for Ryan and other open-borders supporters.
There has been much debate in recent weeks about the direction of the Trump administration.
Some conservatives are worried about Democrats like Economic Advisor Gary Cohn holding positions of influence.
Will he push Trump toward a more moderate direction?
Trump answered these critics by unveiling an executive order to curb immigration abuse and protect American workers.
And he will do so while traveling to Paul Ryan’s district.
Fox News reported:
“President Trump will travel to Wisconsin Tuesday, where he will sign an order aimed at changing a visa program that brings in highly skilled workers from overseas.
The order, dubbed “Buy American, Hire American,” would direct the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Labor and State to propose new rules to prevent immigration fraud and abuse. Those departments would also be asked to offer changes so that H-1B visas are awarded to the “most-skilled or highest-paid applicants.”
The White House said the H-1B program is currently 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.
Administration officials said the order also seeks to strengthen requirements that American-made products be used in certain federal construction projects, as well as in various federal transportation grant-funded projects. The officials said the commerce secretary will review how to close loopholes in enforcing the existing rules and provide recommendations to the president.
The order specifically asks the secretary to review waivers of these rules that exist in free-trade agreements. The administration said that if the waivers are not benefiting the United States they will be “renegotiated or revoked.”
Trump traveling to Ryan’s district to promote the order sends a clear signal he will not back away from the populism and nationalism that got him elected.
While Trump’s order can cut back on fraud and abuse in the H-1B visa program, only Congress can restrict the number of visa applicants that are accepted.
But the administration can weigh the lottery to consider individual skills as opposed to awarding the visas randomly.
Politico reported one administration official believes this can fix the problem of companies using the program to undercut American workers by paying below-market wages to less skilled workers:
“The official criticized the H-1B system for awarding visas randomly, without taking into account an applicant’s skill or salary level. “The result of that is that workers are often brought in at well below market rates,” the official said.
The official emphasized that while each department will need a “full legal analysis” to determine what changes can be made to existing programs, the administration believes there are steps that can be taken both administratively and legislatively. Some potential changes to the H-1B program included weighting the lottery to give an advantage to applicants who hold higher education degrees, for example, or to increase the application fee.
“If you change that current system that awards visas randomly, without regard or skill or wage, to a skill-based awarding, it makes it extremely difficult to use the visa to replace or undercut American workers, because you’re not bringing in workers at beneath the market wage,” the official said. “So it’s a very elegant way of solving systemic problems in the H-1B guest worker visa.”
Promoting this order in Paul Ryan’s district is a clear sign this is an administration priority and shows that they would like Congress to act with them in protecting American workers.