Trump signs or­der to rein in visa pro­gram

Pushes ‘buy-Amer­i­can, hire-Amer­i­can’ ini­tia­tive

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY S. A. MILLER

At­tempt­ing to keep a top cam­paign prom­ise, Pres­i­dent Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der Tues­day to be­gin rein­ing in the H-1B visa pro­gram that crit­ics say for decades has al­lowed lower-wage for­eign work­ers to take jobs from Amer­i­cans.

The pres­i­dent took on the guest worker pro­gram as part of his “buy-Amer­i­can, hire-Amer­i­can” ini­tia­tive, an ef­fort that’s also seen the ad­min­is­tra­tion bol­ster rules against dumping for­eign steel in the U.S. mar­ket and or­der stricter en­force­ment of laws re­quir­ing use of only U.S.-made ma­te­ri­als in fed­eral projects.

“Amer­i­can work­ers have long called for re­forms to end these visa abuses and today their calls are be­ing an­swered for the first time,” Mr. Trump said at a Snap-on tool fac­tory head­quar­ters in Kenosha, Wis­con­sin, where he singed the ex­ec­u­tive or­der.

He said the cur­rent sys­tem that doles out thou­sands of H-1B visas in an an­nual lot­tery is un­fair to U.S. work­ers, and he vowed to re­strict visas to only the most skilled and most-val­ued ap­pli­cants, such as for­eign­ers with mas­ters de­grees or doc­tor­ates.

“No one can com­pete with Amer­i­can work­ers when they are given a fair and level play­ing field, which has not hap­pened for decades,” Mr. Trump said.

The or­der, how­ever, did not im­pose the new re­quire­ments en­dorsed by the pres­i­dent. In­stead, he launched a 220-day re­view to come up with pro­posed re­forms.

The changes also stop short of Mr. Trump’s cam­paign pledge to can­cel the H-1B visas, though the re­forms he has en­dorsed would com­pletely re­make the pro­grams.

The lat­est H-1B visas lot­tery was com­pleted Mon­day, with nearly 200,000 ap­pli­ca­tions sub­mit­ted for just 85,000 slots.

The num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions ac­tu­ally de­creased this year com­pared to the pre­vi­ous two go-arounds, when more than 230,000 ap­pli­ca­tions were sub­mit­ted each year.

“The pres­i­dent’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der is a shot in the arm for Amer­ica’s strug­gling mid­dle class work­ers, and must now be fol­lowed up with leg­is­la­tion that makes per­ma­nent changes to our im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem so it truly ben­e­fits Amer­ica and its cit­i­zens,” said Dan Stein, pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Im­mi­gra­tion Re­form, which ad­vo­cates for de­creased im­mi­gra­tion lev­els.

Sen. Charles E. Grass­ley of Iowa, the Repub­li­can chair­man of the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee who has long cham­pi­oned H-1B visa re­form, said he was en­cour­aged by Mr. Trump push­ing the is­sue to the fore­front.

Mr. Grass­ley and Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illi­nois, the as­sis­tant Demo­cratic leader in the Se­nate, in­tro­duced a bill ear­lier this year to put more re­stric­tions on el­i­gi­bil­ity for the guest worker visas.

“I’m grate­ful that Pres­i­dent Trump has taken my sug­ges­tions to heart by tak­ing steps today to pro­tect Amer­i­can work­ers and pre­serve lim­ited H-1B visas for truly qual­i­fied, high-skilled for­eign work­ers,” Mr. Grass­ley said.

Mr. Durbin said the or­der “falls short.”

“We al­ready know H-1B visa abuse dis­places Amer­i­can work­ers. Pres­i­dent Trump al­ready missed a chance to de­liver on his prom­ise of bold ac­tion to put Amer­i­can work­ers first,” he said. “For a pres­i­dent who has prided him­self on his swift ac­tion when it comes to im­mi­gra­tion, an in­ter­a­gency re­view of

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.