Impact of “Hire American” Provision in New Executive Order Remains to Be Seen

April 24, 2017

On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed his latest Executive Order “Buy American and Hire American.” The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) observed that while today’s announcement reflects the administration’s desire to move toward reforms to the H-1B program, there will be no immediate changes or impacts on H-1Bs. Simply put, it appears that the agencies are asked to review policies related to all visa programs and recommend changes to root out “fraud and abuse,” and to propose additional reforms so that H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest-paid applicants.

AILA President William A. Stock said, “Today’s announcement brings to mind a famous phrase from Shakespeare’s MacBeth: ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’ While the agencies are being asked to undertake a review of the H-1B program, the reality is that many of the changes contemplated by the administration will require legislative action, or at minimum, the lengthy rulemaking process. Rather than ‘sound and fury,’ what we really need is President Trump and Congress to work together on immigration reform that will bring our legal immigration system into the twenty-first century, so we have a system that works for us all.”

Stock continued: “Our immigration system is critical to all geographic and industry sectors, not just Silicon Valley. H-1B workers help transform state and local economies across the nation, from Boise, ID, to Raleigh, NC, Des Moines, IA, and Lincoln, NE. H-1B workers are vital to our healthcare system, and to our manufacturing and energy industries. Any reforms proposed by the Trump Administration as a result of this Executive Order should be based on facts and data, not innuendo and anecdote, and must ensure that our immigration system, including the H-1B program, remain viable tools for U.S. businesses seeking to build and maintain a globally competitive workforce.”

AILA Doc. No. 17041850

For the complete executive order please see Buy-American-Hire-American