President Trump signed an executive order in Wisconsin on Tuesday to direct federal agencies to “Buy American, Hire American.”
Trump signed the order after he spoke before a crowd of technical students and manufacturing employees at the headquarters of Snap-On Tools, a Wisconsin-based manufacturing company.
The order looks to reinforce Trump’s campaign rhetoric by protecting certain American-made goods. It also calls for a review and reform of the H-1B program for skilled workers.
Trump said the order would “aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job.”
During the speech, the president condemned the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement and called them “another one of our disasters” and a “complete and total disaster,” respectively.
The “buy American” part of the executive order directs agencies to conduct a top-to-bottom performance review of the use of waivers. It also pushes for stricter enforcement laws by the federal governmentregarding the purchase of American-made goods and the use of American-made iron and steel in all projects supported by federal funds.
The “hire American” front calls on federal agencies to more strictly enforce H1-B visa laws and proposes reforms to the program to ensure visas are given to the most-skilled applicants and to prevent further fraud and abuse.
CNN reported that though the H1-B visa program is designed to bring skilled workers in certain fields to the United States, the Trump administration contends that employers have abused the program to hire workers who will work for cheaper pay than American citizens.
Trump said he hopes his new executive order puts a stop to this.
“The buy-and-hire American order I’m about to sign will protect workers and students like you,” Trump said. “It’s America first, you better believe it. It’s time. It’s time, right?”