Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He signed an executive order that would make it harder for businesses to hire foreign workers--though not the kinds of foreign workers the Trump Organization gets visas for.

The order itself changed no actual rules, but suggested that Trump was open to revising the process under which H-1B visas are awarded. These are currently awarded on a lottery system and often result in relatively low-skilled, low-wage jobs being made available to non-citizens. Trump characterized the order as a "powerful signal," though Democrats wanted more direct and quicker action, and business interests were generally unsupportive.

The order does not affect H-2B visas, which Trump's businesses--including the Mar-A-Lago club where he spends most weekends--have made frequent use of. During the campaign, Trump incorrectly claimed that as many as 42% of Americans were out of work, but--by virtue of making the H-2B applications--was also affirming that Americans would not work for the wages he was willing to pay. (This is separate from the undocumented workers that Trump's businesses have illegally hired.)

Trump also ordered a review of government "Buy American" procurement rules. Most of the goods produced by Trump's businesses are made in foreign countries, but as the federal government has not yet demonstrated a great need for Trump-branded neckties, vodka, or chandeliers, the order is not likely to affect them.


  • Presidents who live in glass skyscrapers (built by illegally hired foreign workers) shouldn't throw stones.
  • It's bad if even what a president chooses not to do creates conflicts of interest.