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Executive Order
Issued April 18, 2017

Update: August 18, 2017

The impact of this executive order is starting to be seen on a widespread scale. Andy Berke, Mayor of Chattanooga said “I’m nervous,” in relation to this executive order being rolled out. He is traveling to Japan to try to convince car companies to continue to send manufacturing projects to his city. These projects have allowed for Chattanooga’s wonderful unemployment rate to stay cushioned at 3.6%. Mayor Berke is worried that this executive order could “could set off a protectionist spiral of tariffs and import restrictions, hurting consumers and workers.” This problem doesn’t only affect companies in the Chattanooga area but cities around the nation that are dependent on manufacturing projects from other nations.

Policy Summary

President Trump’s America First campaign theme was bolstered after the Buy American, Hire American executive order. This order will prioritize American companies for federal contracts and also reform the visa program for foreign workers.

Hire American

As a result of this order, the “Hire American” portion will decrease the overall amount of H1-B visas given. This is because the Administration has accused companies of “importing low-wage workers on H-1B visas to take jobs from young college-trained Americans” leading to the “theft of American prosperity”. There will be a complete overhaul of the lottery system used in the status quo to determine the sponsors of H1-B visas. Trump’s replacement is not set in stone, but will be complete after H1-B visa studies by the Departments of Labor and State. The Trump Administration has claimed that H1-B visa changes will be recommended as soon as the studies are complete.

Buy American

The “Buy American” portion will tighten the waivers and exemptions that agencies use to get around laws that favor American-made goods. It is intended to lead to more purchasing of US made goods by US companies. When enacted it will also include regulations requiring US companies to use American steel for domestic projects that are funded by the government.

Analysis

Hire American

Trump’s executive action has supported his campaign philosophy of economic nationalism, but it may prove to be burdensome for small businesses. Punit Soni, the chief executive of Learning Motors, said these visa changes will hurt small businesses. He claims that small companies cannot afford to pay high salaries and already struggle to attract talent in such a tight market. The order will impact the seasonal labor workforce as it intends to replace low-cost foreign workers who use H1-B workers to work in hotels and resorts with Americans, presumably high school and colleges students.  This demand for higher wages by American college graduates will result in increased prices for all consumers. Under the new Executive Order, it is proposed that preference for H1-B visas (in an overall reduced H1-B Visa pool)  be given to highly skilled foreign workers.  This system would favor highest-paid foreign workers in already successful companies like Google.

Buy American

Trump’s belief that international commerce is harmful to America is not bolstered by the scientific community. One of the most basic tenets of economics claims that if a country can buy a product abroad for less than it is better off buying it. This is because costs will exponentially go up if the US uses its own resources to produce products, rather than purchasing these resources from abroad. If costs increase consumption will decrease as buyers can no longer afford items. As a result, the economy may suffer due to a lack of consumption.

Engagement Resources

  • Nasscom Lobby – Lobby to persuade entities like Google, Facebook, and IBM along wt the government to allow for more H1-B visas.
  • Town Hall Project – This project compiles the open-to-the-public events held by state and local representatives. This provides a great opportunity to tell them that this executive order will do more bad than good. You can also dial 1-844-6-RESIST to be redirected to the office of your local member of Congress.
  • Amazon Lobby – One of the largest technology company lobbies in America. They continue to want access H1-B visas because of their skill and relative cheaper work.
  • Forward US – Mark Zuckerburg along with other CEOs (Yahoo and Google) launched a project to reform the immigration system to allow for more H1-B visas. It aims to lobby and advocate for its version of immigration reform, changes to the US education system to improve science and technology education, and the facilitation of scientific breakthroughs with broad public benefits.

This brief was compiled by Vaibhav Kumar. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact vaibhav@usresistnews.org.


 

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