Political Editors / April 18, 2017

Trump Tackles Visas

He issues an executive order to review and recommend changes to the much-abused H-1B visa program.

Donald Trump signed another executive order Tuesday — this one aimed at overhauling the H-1B visa program used by American tech companies to hire high-skilled foreign workers and bring them into the U.S. Trump has been critical of the program, claiming that it disadvantages American workers. His point is made more real when companies hire foreigners to replace American workers and make those Americans train their replacements. Trump’s action may make it more difficult for domestic companies to hire foreign workers.

By Trump’s estimation, the visa program has become too permissive, allowing in low-skilled, lower-paid foreign workers who have displaced American workers. As one administration official said, the “abuse” of the visa program that “brings in a worker not because you need their skill or talent, but for the purpose of undercutting the American worker” needs to be addressed. Trump’s aim is to ensure that the original intent of the H-1B visa program is honored — namely that it is used only to bring in highly skilled foreign workers for highly specialized positions and needs.

His “Buy American, Hire American” order directs the Departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security and Labor to draft “new rules to prevent immigration fraud and abuse,” and to initiate a thorough review of the program in order to provide recommended legislative changes to Congress. It also instructs federal agencies to use American-made goods.

Trump’s policies are already changing things, even in some cases if only by perception. The Washington Free Beacon reports, “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Monday that the number of H-1B visa applications dropped about 16 percent over the past year, marking the first such decline since 2012.”

In related news, the Washington Post attempted to call out Trump for targeting “non-criminal” illegal aliens with a story headlined, “ICE immigration arrests of noncriminals double under Trump.” However, when the statistics are more closely examined and compared against Barack Obama’s record, the story becomes markedly different. It is true that under Trump immigration officials have cracked down on illegal immigration to a greater extent than during Obama’s tenure. But the percentage of illegal aliens with criminal records arrested by ICE since Trump took office is 75%; under Obama it was 60%. That means immigration officials under Obama were less discriminating in who they targeted for arrest. Once again, The Washington Post has published an article that is grossly misleading.

(Edited.)

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