President Trump will sign a double-barreled executive order Tuesday that will clamp down on guest worker visas and require agencies to buy more goods and services from U.S. companies and workers.
Trump will sign the so-called "Buy American, Hire American" executive order during a visit to Snap-On Tools in Kenosha, Wis., Tuesday, said two senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the order Monday. The officials spoke on condition they not be identified because the cabinet-level officials who could discuss the matter on the record were unavailable.
By combining aspects of immigration policy with federal procurement regulations, Trump is using executive action to advance his philosophy of economic nationalism without waiting for action from Congress. But like many of his previous executive orders, the order will largely call on cabinet secretaries to fill in the details with reports and recommendations about what the administration can legally do.
Specifically targeted: The H-1B visa program, which allows 85,000 foreign workers into the United States each year to take specific high-skilled jobs with U.S. companies. The program is popular with the information technology industry, which Trump has accused of "importing low-wage workers on H-1B visas to take jobs from young college-trained Americans."
The executive order will stop short of the one- to two-year moratorium on new skilled worker visas that Trump called for during the campaign. And it comes too late to have a direct effect on this year's visa season, which opened April 3.
Instead, the executive order will look for administrative changes, including an overhaul of the lottery system used to determine which companies can sponsor the visas, one official said. Other visa programs, like the H-2B seasonal worker visa that Trump himself uses to staff his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., will be largely unaffected.
The "Buy American" portion of the order will tighten the waivers and exemptions that agencies use to get around procurement laws that favor American-made goods, and require agency heads to sign off on those waivers. It will require agencies to consider whether foreign governments are using unfair trade practices when considering the lowest responsible bidder. And it includes language requiring transportation projects to use steel "melted and poured" in the United States.
Trump will sign the order in Wisconsin, a state he won last November with an appeal to blue-collar workers and a promise to revive manufacturing jobs.