President Trump's 'hire American plan' and how it will affect H-1B workers

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- President Trump delivering on one of his most well known campaign promises. This week he signed an executive order this week which would direct federal agencies to “Buy American, Hire American.” The move pushes to protect American made goods and reform the H-1B visa program for temporary foreign workers.

“Of course any program could be made better," David Kreutzer with the Heritage Foundation said.

Kreutzer said the H-1B visa program has proved useful to businesses looking to fill critical vacancies. But said the problem is the visas are awarded in a random lottery. The executive order directs federal agencies to suggest changes to help ensure that the visas are awarded to the best-paid immigrant workers.

“If we have a mechanism where you have to put your money where your mouth is then we’re going to get those foreign workers who have the highest value skillset coming to the U.S. which is what we want," Kreutzer added.

While other groups in Washington agree replacing the H-1B lottery with a more merit-based system would be beneficial. They said it’s important President Trump keeps the focus on mending the program- not getting rid of it.

“The end result would be just moving this work overseas," Robert Atkinson with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation said.

Atkinson said President Trump realized the danger in getting rid of the H-1B program entirely and is making the right improvements. But believes starting with the younger generation, focusing on educating children in science and engineering, could be another solution to the hire American problem.

“The President can lead that if he chose and so far he hasn’t talked about that and I think that’s a mistake that he needs to be focusing on how do we get more Americans to be able to do these jobs so we’re not as reliant on foreign talent," Atkinson added.

Both Kreutzer and Atkinson are waiting to see how the new rules will be rolled out in the coming days as President Trump’s 100-day mark approaches.

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