President Donald Trump says his newest executive order will spur more people to “Buy American, Hire American.” Trump says the order will help American workers whose jobs are threatened by skilled immigrants, which is what he promised to do on the campaign trail. When asked by reporters what policy changes will take effect immediately after Trump signed the order, a senior administration official detailed how the president is really asking for self-assessments from a range of federal agencies. The order calls for heads of “all” federal agencies to develop and propose policy ideas that fit Trump’s new “Buy American, Hire American” guidelines.
H-1B visa and “Buy American, Hire American”
The order also asks several leaders in the Trump administration to suggest reforms to the H-1B visa program. That program allows employers to go outside the U.S. workforce to find workers with “highly specialized knowledge.” Trump wants to tighten some of the rules in the program to “prevent fraud or abuse.” Here’s what Trump says about it: “Right now, widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers of all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries to fill the same job for sometimes less pay. This will stop.”
NAFTA and “Buy American, Hire American”
With the order, Trump is formally calling for the secretary of commerce and the U.S. trade representative to assess “the impacts of all U.S. free trade agreements” as part of the new plan. Trump — who has long complained about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — was giving a speech to manufacturing workers in Wisconsin about the executive order when he blasted the deal once again. “The fact is, NAFTA has been a disaster for the United States — a complete and total disaster,” he said. “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.”
The order does nothing specifically to NAFTA for now, but a senior Trump administration official said the U.S. will be doing analysis on the deal to see if it’s meeting the “Trump standard of fairness and reciprocity.”