Amid outcry from the mainstream media over President Donald Trump’s most recent immigration executive order, the White House is already moving forward to visa reform.
As Trump promised on the campaign trail, the next expected executive order deals with reforming a slew of U.S. foreign guest worker programs, in which the administration will emphasize the need for giant tech companies to hire American workers over foreign ones.
“Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest,” a draft of the executive order states, according to Bloomberg. “Visa programs for foreign workers… should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers–our forgotten working people–and the jobs they hold.”
Among the highest priorities for the executive order is the reforming the H1-B visa, which was originally created to allow U.S. companies to temporarily hire foreign guest workers to do highly-skilled jobs. Members of the Trump Administration, including likely-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have panned the H1-B visa as a system run amok with fraud and abuse, as well as prioritizing cheaper, foreign labor ahead of American workers.
Trump’s drafted executive order on reforming the H1-B visa program would force tech companies like Alphabet, Facebook, and Apple to prioritize hiring Americans and if a foreign guest worker is hired under the program, priority must be given to the company willing to pay the highest salary.
Immigration experts like Mark Krikorian, the Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, said the executive order is much needed.
“His gut reaction on this guest worker issue is to be for it,” Krikorian said, referring to Trump’s back-and-forth message on the issue during the presidential campaign. “That’s why I was glad to see some of the things that were in here.”
“Given that I wasn’t expecting much on this foreign visa issue, he’s doing pretty good,” Krikorian continued.
Krikorian said the executive order delves deep into some technical issues over foreign guest workers, like one portion which demands site visits to companies using H1-B visa workers to make sure they are doing the jobs they were brought to the country to do. Also, the stipulation in the executive order where employers wanting to use H1-B visa workers must offer high salary jobs first would mean an end to the program being leveraged for cheaper, foreign labor, Krikorian said.
The drafted executive order has tech giants in Silicon Valley in an uproar.
Menlo Ventures Managing Director Venky Ganesan pushed back against any of the reforms offered in the executive order, telling USA Today that H1-B visas were “critical source of legal, skilled labor for the U.S. economy.”
If Trump signs the executive order, he will likely have support from not only the majority of Republicans, but also a number of traditional voting blocs for Democrats.
For instance, proposed legislation by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) partially mirrors Trump’s proposal, awarding visas to companies willing to pay the highest salary.
Another piece of proposed legislation by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) would raise the salary requirement for H1-B visas from its current amount of $60,000 to $100,000 a year, and would eliminate the master’s degree exemption, which sometimes allows companies to hire foreign workers who do not have more than a bachelor’s degree.
The drafted executive order echoes long-time calls by Sessions to reform foreign guest worker visas, often times having American workers who were replaced by lower-skilled, foreign workers testify on Capitol Hill.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.