President Donald Trump on Monday barred federal agencies from dismissing U.S. citizens or green card holders and replacing them with foreign workers and blasted the Tennessee Vally Authority for having done so.
The executive order Trump signed Monday increases scrutiny of federal contractors’ use of H-1B visas to bring in temporary foreign labor for high-skilled jobs rather than relying on American workers.
The action was prompted by the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority’s June announcement that it’s laying off information technology workers as the federal power agency outsources data and programming work, according to an administration official who asked for anonymity.
Trump called TVA Chief Executive Officer Jeff Lyash’s outsourcing decision “disastrous and heartless.” Trump said the board must remove Lyash, or he’ll do it. He also said he’ll remove some board members, including Chairman James Thompson.
After being handed a note during the White House event, Trump said that he got a call from Lyash and that the TVA chief had indicated a “willingness to reverse course” on the announced layoffs. The TVA didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Trump’s new executive order requires federal agencies to give preference to U.S. residents and green card holders for contract positions, just as they would for full-time roles, the official said on condition of anonymity. The order also will prompt a study to determine how many federal jobs are held by foreign visa holders.
The Trump administration is working on other changes to the H-1B visa program that may be announced in the coming weeks, the official also said.
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Updated: Mon, Aug 17th 2020 @ 4:05pm EDT