KENOSHA, WIS. - President Donald Trump on
Tuesday ordered federal agencies to look at
tightening a temporary visa program used to
bring high-skilled foreign workers to the
United States, as he tries to carry out his
campaign pledges to put "America First."
Trump signed an executive order on
enforcing and reviewing the H-1B visa,
popular in the technology industry, on a
visit to the headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a
tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In the document, known to the White House
as the "Buy American and Hire American"
order, Trump also seeks changes in
government procurement that would boost
purchases of American products in federal
contracts, with one aim being to help U.S.
The moves show Trump once again using his
power to issue executive orders to try to
fulfill promises he made last year in his
election campaign, in this case to reform
U.S. immigration policies and encourage
purchases of American products.
Senior officials gave few details on
implementation of the order but Trump aides
have expressed concern that most H-1B visas
are awarded for lower-paid jobs at
outsourcing firms, many based in India,
which they say takes work away from
They seek a more merit-based way to give
the visas to highly skilled workers.
"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,"
As he nears the 100-day benchmark of his
presidency, Trump still has no major
legislative achievements. With his attempts
to overhaul healthcare and tax law not
bearing fruit so far in a Congress
controlled by his fellow Republicans, Trump
has leaned heavily on executive orders to
seek changes to the U.S. economy.
The venue for Trump's visit on Tuesday is
a nod to his voter base in the manufacturing
centers of the American heartland. Wisconsin
unexpectedly voted for the Republican last
year, partly due to his promises to bring
back industrial jobs.
H-1B visas are intended for foreign
nationals in occupations that generally
require higher education, including science,
engineering or computer programming. The
government uses a lottery to award 65,000
visas every year and randomly distributes
another 20,000 to graduate student workers.
Critics say the lottery benefits
outsourcing firms that flood the system with
mass applications for visas for lower-paid
information technology workers.
"Right now H-1B visas are awarded in a
totally random lottery and that's wrong.
Instead, they should be given to the most
skilled and highest paid applicants and they
should never, ever be used to replace
Americans," Trump said.