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Immigration Law Blog

Thursday, April 20, 2017

President Trump Signs “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order

On April 18th, President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Buy American and Hire American”. The Executive Order aims to discourage the use of foreign labor in the U.S. It directs federal agencies to review policies related to all visa programs and to recommend changes that would serve to prevent and address fraud and abuse in these programs. Specifically, the Executive Order instructs the Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security, and the Attorney General to “suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries” It also directs the federal government to more carefully enforce federal guidelines that prioritize the use of U.S. firms and American-made goods in federal projects.

In a statement released on April 18th, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) observed that although the Executive Order signals the desire of the Trump administration to work towards reforming the H-1B program, it does not institute any immediate changes. AILA President William A. Stock noted that any changes the administration may ultimately seek to make to the H-1B program will require a lengthy rulemaking process or legislative action and cannot be implemented immediately by Executive Order.

Mr. Stock also noted that H-1B workers and other immigrant workers are “critical to all geographic and industry sectors, not just Silicon Valley. H-1B workers help transform state and local economies across the nation, from Boise ID, to Raleigh, NC, Des Moines, IL, and Lincoln, NE. H-1B workers are vital to our healthcare system, and to our manufacturing and energy industries.” He cautioned the Trump administration to keep this in mind and to base future decisions about the H-1B program on informed facts and data, rather than rhetoric.

The full text of the Executive Order can be found at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/04/18/presidential-executive-order-buy-american-and-hire-american.

AILA’s full statement on the Executive Order can be found at http://www.aila.org/advo-media/press-releases/2017/aila-impact-of-hire-american-provisions.


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