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Published: Tue, May 02, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

Trump signs order for firms to 'Buy American, Hire American'

Trump signs order for firms to 'Buy American, Hire American'

But it's not as straightforward as it sounds. "No one can compete with American workers when they're given a fair and level playing field, which has not happened for decades", Trump said. It's more complicated than that, though, because it involves a number of existing federal financial assistance programs and labor policies which Trump's team says have been "enormously diluted over time".

"There's some things that the Trump administration could do at the margins that might help clean up some of the worst abuses in the program", Costa said, but "legislation is going to be required to really fix the program".

It was unclear whether the latest such order would yield immediate results.

It calls for a government-wide re-examination of "Buy American, Hire American" policies, including a study of government purchasing to be sure United States goods are preferred as well as a study of visa abuses.

But it falls way short of Mr Trump's campaign pledge to end the H-1B visa programme. Those departments would also be asked to offer changes so that H-1B visas are awarded to the "most-skilled or highest-paid applicants". A famous case would be Walt Disney, who replaced a large number of United States technology workers with foreign workers who were willing to accept lower wages. Trump wants to tighten some of the rules in the program to "prevent fraud or abuse".

"The H-1B program was created to fill gaps in America's workforce with highly skilled foreign workers, but as we've seen in recent years, the program has been abused and exploited at the expense of American workers and most-qualified foreign workers", Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley noted in a statement. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it received 199,000 applications for the fiscal year that begins on October 1.

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The order also targets NAFTA.

But it's important to note when it comes to buying American, this new executive order specifically affects the federal government, not individual businesses.

Critics argue that the order will make materials for transportation and other public works projects more expensive and could even derail Trump's proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Numerous overseas workers are willing to work for as little as $60,000 annually, far less than $100,000-plus salaries typically paid to US technology workers.

The order directs agencies to enforce government rules on excluding foreign contractors from bids for government projects.

"As an American I've seen more done in two months then I have in the prior two administrations, actually promises", Trump Jr. said.

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