Politics

Trump Signs 'Hire American' Order, Hires Foreign Workers

| by Michael Allen

President Donald Trump signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order on April 18 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, despite his own history of hiring foreign workers.

"The buy and hire American order I'm about to sign will protect workers and students like you," Trump told tech students and manufacturing workers at Snap-On Tools headquarters, notes CNN. "It's America first, you better believe it. It's time. It's time, right?"

The Palm Beach Post reported in December 2016 that Trump hired 64 foreign workers for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, under the H-2B visa program.

Trump defended hiring foreign workers for his U.S. companies during a GOP presidential debate in March 2016: "It’s very, very hard to get people. Other hotels do the exact same thing."

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But Tom Veenstra of CareerSource Palm Beach County countered at the time: "We have hundreds of qualified candidates and hundreds of job orders for various hospitality positions such as servers, chefs, cooks, bartenders, housekeeping, guest services, spa services, recreation, maintenance and more."

Trump's executive order does not target H-2B visas for seasonal labor, which Mar-a-Lago uses, but rather H-1B visas for specialty positions that tech companies use to hire skilled foreign workers. Under Trump's order, those companies and their foreign applicants will have to show that H-1B visas are being given to only "the most highly skilled workers" in their areas of expertise, notes The New York Times.

"The effect would end up being exactly the opposite of what Trump wants," said Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. "Companies would go offshore, like Microsoft did with Vancouver, Canada."

Trump Winery, owned by the president's son Eric Trump, in Albemarle County, Virginia, applied for H-2A visas to hire 29 foreign agricultural workers, noted The Daily Progress in March. The president's order will not affect his son's business and the type of visa it uses.

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According to NBC News, there have been 56 shipments of Ivanka Trump-branded products from China and Singapore to the U.S. since Election Day, and a total of 215 Asian shipments since Jan. 1, 2016.

"We can't continue to allow China to rape our country," Trump told his supporters in 2016 during a campaign rally in Indiana. "There are no jobs because China has our jobs."

He defended outsourcing U.S. jobs to foreign countries on his Trump University blog in 2005:

We hear terrible things about outsourcing jobs -- how sending work outside of our companies is contributing to the demise of American businesses. But in this instance I have to take the unpopular stance that it is not always a terrible thing.

I understand that outsourcing means that employees lose jobs. Because work is often outsourced to other countries, it means Americans lose jobs. In other cases, nonunion employees get the work. Losing jobs is never a good thing, but we have to look at the bigger picture.

Last year, Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Lawrence R. Klein, the founder of Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, co-authored a study that showed how global outsourcing actually creates more jobs and increases wages, at least for IT workers. The study found that outsourcing helped companies be more competitive and more productive. That means they make more money, which means they funnel more into the economy, thereby, creating more jobs.

I know that doesn't make it any easier for people whose jobs have been outsourced overseas, but if a company's only means of survival is by farming jobs outside its walls, then sometimes it's a necessary step. The other option might be to close its doors for good.

Sources: CNN, The New York Times, Palm Beach PostThe Daily Progress, NBC News, Trump University via Archive.org / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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