Briefing on President’s New Proposed Executive Orders

01. Feb. 2017

Drafts of new Executive Orders are currently circulating in the administration and news media. While still under construction, these orders, if signed into law, could impose greater restrictions on the nonimmigrant and immigrant workforce. These are drafts and have not been finalized or signed.

The First, entitled “Executive Order on Protecting Taxpayer Resources by Ensuring Our Immigration Laws Promote Accountability and Responsibility,” proposes review by several federal agencies, including the Secretary of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), of the costs associated with welfare benefits provided to aliens. This includes:

  • Ensuring that aliens receive only the public benefits they are eligible to receive;
  • Ensuring that sponsors of aliens fulfill their obligations to reimburse the government for the cost of welfare benefits provided to such aliens; and
  • Requiring the DHS and the State Department to establish new standards and regulations for determining when aliens will require public assistance upon entering the U.S., and may be inadmissible or deportable as a public charge.

Public benefits include: federal means-tested public benefits, supplemental security income, food stamps, temporary assistance for needy families, social service block grants, and Medicaid.

Additionally, the Order proposes a review of the long-term costs of Refugee Admissions programs at the federal, state and local levels, and the drafting of a report to combat 
“birth tourism.”

The second Order, entitled “Executive Order Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Programs,” proposes “aligning current immigration policies with the national interest,” and requests review of a number of immigration policies and development of regulations for improvement, such as:

  • A review of all regulations that allow foreign nationals to work in the U.S.
  • Immediate termination of existing parole policies, guidance and programs that circumvent statutory immigration policy or admit unqualified individuals.
  • Review ways to make the H-1B process more efficient.
  • Commencement of site visits of places which employ L-1 nonimmigrant workers and development of a plan to expand site visits to all employment-based visa programs within two years.
  • A review of current policies and recommendation of changes to move toward a merit-based immigration system.
  • Reform of practical training programs for foreign students.
  • Clarification of permissible activity on business and tourist visas.
  • Review of options for incentivizing and expanding the E-Verify program, possibly conditioning certain immigration-related benefits on participation.
  • Review of inefficiencies in the Adjustment of Status (AOS) process, including how immigrant visas are determined to be immediately available and allocated.
  • Reform of the E-2 treaty investor category so that investor activity conforms to the requirements of immigration laws.
  • Reform of the J-1 program to improve protections of U.S. workers.

This Order also calls for several government organizations, including the Department of Labor, to investigate injuries to U.S. workers caused by the employment of foreign workers in the H-1B, L-1 and B-1 categories, directly or indirectly, and issue a report on the number of EADs and total number of foreign-born workers and visa holders in the U.S.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates when available.