Trump bans U.S agencies from firing citizens to replace them with foreigners, fires TVA chief

The order challenges federal contractors’ use of H-1B visas to bring in temporary foreign labor for high-skilled jobs rather than relying on American workers.

Updated: August 3, 2020 - 6:55pm

President Trump on Monday signed an executive order banning federal agencies — with particular attention on the technology sector — from firing U.S. citizens or green card holders only to replace them with foreigners.

The order, which the White House is calling the Executive Order on Hiring American, challenges federal contractors' use of H-1B visas to bring in temporary foreign labor for high-skilled jobs rather than relying on American workers

"This Executive Order follows his Buy American, Hire American Executive Order from April 2017 and takes further action to prevent Americans from being displaced by foreign workers," the White House said in a statement released Monday. "Under President Trump’s leadership, the firing of hardworking Americans in the pursuit of cheap foreign labor will not be tolerated." 

Trump's action was in part to prevent the outsourcing of jobs at the Tennessee Valley Authority, the federally owned corporation created by congressional charter in 1933 to provide electricity, economic development and other essential services to the region. 

At the White House signing ceremony Monday, Trump said he's pushing for the removal of authority CEO Jeff Lyash and called on its board to make sure Lyash "does not receive a lavish compensation package upon his departure too."

"He gets $8 million a year, so that was just a succession of deep swamp things happening, and it's a disgrace," Trump said. "So let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board. If you betray American workers, then you will hear two simple words, 'You're fired.'"

Lyash almost immediately after the order signing contacted the White House, saying he wanted to settle the labor dispute. But Trump nevertheless fired Lyash, according to the Associated Press. 

In June, Trump also signed an executive order extending foreign-worker restrictions through Dec. 31, citing the high unemployment rate among Americans. That order prohibited visas for most guest workers who come to the U.S. for temporary or seasonal work but exempts farm workers and some within the food service industry. 

In April, Trump issued an executive order temporarily suspending immigration due to coronavirus, saying it would be 60-day pause and impact only those seeking permanent residency, also known as a green card, not temporary employment. 

The policy change follows a lawsuit Monday by 17 states and the District of Columbia challenging the policy change. The suit was originally filed by several colleges including Harvard and MIT.

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