Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Donald Trump orders review of visa program to encourage hiring Americans


KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) - Using Tax Day as a backdrop, hundreds of people protesting President Donald Trump's visit to a Wisconsin manufacturing company urged him to release his returns, admonishing the president with signs, chants, and even an inflated chicken supposed to bear his resemblance. But it's not as straightforward as it sounds.

But Mr. Trump, echoing the "America First" themes of his presidential campaign, said at an event at a Wisconsin toolmaker that the measure was needed to "restore the American dream" and to prevent the "theft of American prosperity". The official says this violates "the principle of the program". It's part of the administration's "buy American, hire American" efforts, and it could have a pretty significant impact on Texas.

The order is more administrative in nature than a clear policy change.

"For a president who has prided himself on his swift action when it comes to immigration, an interagency review of the programme is a guarded and timid approach". In other words, nothing is happening immediately.

Hundreds of companies issue H-1B visas.

"Right now, H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery and that's wrong", he added.

For too long, he said, companies have used and abused the H-1B program to fire Americans and replace them with lower-cost foreign employees.

H-1B visas are intended for foreign nationals in "specialty" occupations that generally require higher education, which according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) includes, but is not limited to, scientists, engineers or computer programmers.

"It's possible it may have a bully pulpit effect, but it's also possible that businesses might see this (executive order) as window dressing", said Spriggs, a Howard University economics professor who served as assistant secretary for policy in the Labor Department under President Barack Obama. "Like all the other executive orders, it's just words - he's calling for new studies". "And some of that will be administrative, and some if they'll say will have to be done legislatively". "It's been very, very bad for our companies and for our workers, and we're going to make some very big changes or we are going to get rid of NAFTA for once and for all".

Trump Jr. made the comment during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, who said before the conversation that President Trump is taking steps to fulfill his promise of bringing jobs back to America. The commerce secretary will review how to close loopholes in existing rules and provide recommendations to the president.

"Buy American" provisions also may run afoul of free trade agreements, though the White House wants to conduct a full review before seeking adjustments to those trade agreements. Trump asked a supportive crowd at the headquarters of Snap-on.

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