Trump's visa executive order could have big impacts on Tennessee - WSMV News 4

Trump's visa executive order could have big impacts on Tennessee

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President Trump held a rally at Municipal Auditorium in March. (WSMV file photo) President Trump held a rally at Municipal Auditorium in March. (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump made a lot of campaign promises. One of the most popular was to steer the U.S. to "buy American, hire American.”

On Tuesday, he took a step to try and make good on that promise, and it could directly impact Tennessee jobs.

“Right now, H-1B visas are being awarded in a totally random lottery, and that's wrong. Instead they should be given to the most skilled and highest paid applicants, and they should never, ever be used to replace Americans,” Trump said.

Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to review and reform the program. That move could have quite the impact on Tennessee.

Hundreds of companies issue H-1B visas. According to myvisajobs.com, Wipro, with a location in Franklin, has more than 9,500 H-1B employees who earn an average salary of $82,000 per year.

Vanderbilt University in Nashville has 146 H-1B employees who make an average of $68,000 per year.

“There should be protections in place to ensure they are not simply bringing in workers just because they will work for a cheaper price. It should be about value added and contribution,” said Sam Wolf, president of Vanderbilt College Republicans.

Wolf said he thinks the H-1B program is good for America, as long as the purpose continues to be improving the American economy.

“There are likely provisions in it to make sure H-1B visas are going to their intended purpose and are not being abused by corporations to down cut American wages and cause layoffs and unemployment,” Wolf said.

Channel 4 reached out to several H-1B sponsored companies in Tennessee. We are still waiting for a response.

Meanwhile, Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, the spokesperson for Tennessee’s Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, sent the following statement:

The president's latest executive order is another effort by the Trump administration to curb immigration to the U.S. While today's order doesn't change policy, it continues to lift up the misguided narrative that immigration hurts U.S. workers. Sadly, this will come at a great cost to our local economy where foreign-born Tennesseans play a critical role in filling the skilled-employment gap, driving economic growth, and creating jobs for U.S. born workers.

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