Trump takes aim at H-1B visa program

A man has his fingerprints electronically taken while taking part in a visa application demonstration at the U.S. Embassy in Lima

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, responded to an executive order that President Donald Trump signed today enforcing and reviewing the H-1B Visa program.

At the onset of "The Lead" Tuesday, Tapper pointed out that while Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" order sounds like a step in the right direction, the president's own business practices directly contradict the order's intent.

Several American companies use the H-1B program to hire skilled labor from overseas. Founded in 1920, Snap-On is headquartered in Kenosha, Wis., and was a symbolic choice for the event. Trump now has only a 41 percent approval rating in the state. The number of application for H1-B visas fell to 199,000 this year from 236,000 in 2016 and 233,000 in 2015, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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

"These are great, great people and I love the workers", Trump said, speaking at a lectern, backed by an American flag made of tools.

The order directs the Departments of Labor, Justice, State and Homeland Security to crack down on fraud and abuse in H-1B guest-worker programs by issuing new immigration rules.

The goal of these eventual changes to the program would be to prioritize visas for higher-skilled, higher wage-earning foreign workers, as opposed to the lottery system now in place for the awarding of H-1Bs.

Buy American law requires that when federal funds are used there is a requirement of using American made goods, according to President Trump.

Tuesday's signing triggers a "top to bottom performance review" by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to be submitted within 220 days on weak enforcement and rooting out Buy American loopholes. The waivers could be renegotiated or revoked if they are not benefiting the United States.

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The trip brings Trump to the congressional district of House Speaker Paul Ryan, but he is out of the country on a congressional trip.

Two administration officials previewed the orders for reporters on condition of anonymity because they didn't represent the agencies most directly involved in the policies.

"Guest worker programs, both high and low skilled, are supposed to supplement the workforce when American workers can not do the jobs".

The second plank of the president's order will tighten the process for issuing visas to foreign workers.

During his campaign, Trump said at one point that he supported high-skilled visas, then opposed them. No one can compete with American workers when they are given a fair and level playing field. "And we should end it". "And some of that will be administrative, and some if they'll say will have to be done legislatively".

However, American technology employees have been laid off nationwide, replaced by H-1B visa holders.

The U.S. workers are sometimes asked to train their replacements to qualify for severance packages.

And of the three outsourcing firms called out above, a senior government official said, "Those three companies are companies that have an average wage for H-1B visas between $60,000 and $65,000".

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