This afternoon, President Trump is expected to sign a new executive order called “Buy American, Hire American” during his visit to Snap-On, a tool manufacturing company in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
According to a White House background briefing today (April 18), the executive order will have two goals. It will direct the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Labor and State to identify recommendations to avoid “fraud and abuse” in the H-1B visa program. And it seeks to tighten federal procurement regulations to ensure that government agencies favor American products.
The H-1B visa program issues an estimated 85,000 visas each year to foreign nationals in “specialty” occupations (primarily in information technology, engineering, science and medicine) and to foreign graduates of American universities via a lottery system. According to the Department of Labor, H-1B visas are intended to provide temporary employment to individuals with specialized knowledge in industries that “cannot otherwise obtain needed business skills and abilities from the U.S workforce.” While standards exist to protect U.S. workers, the H-1B program has come under criticism for a range of reasons, including wage exploitation and retaliation against foreign workers, displacement of American workers and fraud by outsourcing companies.
Watch President Trump’s announcement at 3:20 p.m. EDT here.