Others say: On the right track
Posted: April 20, 2017 at 3:08 a.m.
President Donald Trump brought a big dose of his economic populism to Wisconsin Tuesday, where he signed an executive order that would rein in a popular foreign worker program and encourage federal agencies to "buy American."
The order, by itself, may have a limited impact but the theater is perhaps as important as the actual act. Trump is keeping a campaign promise, and, after a week of flip-flops on the Export-Import Bank and China's alleged currency manipulation, sending a message to his supporters in places such as Wisconsin that he hasn't forgotten them.
The H-1B visa program has its place--helping companies around the country, but particularly in Silicon Valley, fill jobs for which the supply of American workers is thin. But an H-1B review is overdue. Critics of the program claim staffing companies are undercutting American wages by using the visas to recruit foreign labor and then contracting those workers to large companies. The Associated Press reports that employers as diverse as Walt Disney World and the University of California at San Francisco have furloughed tech employees and replaced them with H-1B workers. That's not the intent of the program and should not be allowed.
Trump's order asks federal agencies to review the program and propose new rules to prevent fraud.
Trump also wants to toughen up the requirement that American-made goods be used in certain federal construction projects or in highway projects that are paid for with federal grants.
After the agency review, Congress may need to act, though, to ensure that "Buy American, Hire American" actually means something.
Editorial on 04/20/2017