Additional Executive Orders (“EO”) are apparently circulating among administration officials, including more related to immigration and one specifically related to business immigration. It is unclear when or exactly what President Trump will sign but one such draft order is entitled “Executive Order—Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Programs.” The scope of this EO, as presently drafted, will affect foreign worker visa programs (e.g., workers in E, H-1B, H-2A and L status). It also affects the J-1 exchange visitor program and student visa reform, and orders L-1 site visits. These are just some highlights of what such this EO could cover.
The focus of this particular EO is to prioritize “the protection of American workers…and the jobs they hold.” The EO requires the Security of Homeland Security to, within 90 days, review all regulations that allow foreign nationals to work in the United States to determine if they are in the national interest or should be rescinded.
Of greatest interest for purposes of this blog is what it says about E-Verify – “within 90 days of the date of this order, submit to the President a list of options for incentivizing and expanding participation by employers in E-Verify, including by conditioning, to the maximum extent allowed by law, certain immigration-related benefits on participation in E-Verify.” Could this mean something akin to the situation where in order for an employee to apply for an extension of their work authorization under STEM OPT their employer must participate in E-Verify?
This E-Verify mandate is in line with then presidential candidate Trump’s “10 Point Plan to Put America First.” Point #9 was, “Turn off the jobs and benefits magnet. Many immigrants come to the U.S. illegally in search of jobs, even though federal law prohibits the employment of illegal immigrants.” For this point to be fulfilled, President Trump is pushing for an expansion of the E-Verify program. Which, by the way, an expansion of E-Verify to make it mandatory is not necessarily a controversial item on Capitol Hill. I expect that legislation will be taken up this year on Capitol Hill making E-Verify mandatory for all employers in the United States.