- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Tuesday dismissed as window dressing President Trump’s pending executive order to study H-1B visa program reforms, urging him instead to take up the bipartisan 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill that included fixes to that guest worker program.

“If he would stop demonizing immigrants and work with us on immigration reform, we could get something done, something real — not just a study,” the New York Democrat said in a conference call with reporters.

Mr. Trump is headed to an event at the Snap-on tool factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he’ll sign an executive for his “buy-American, hire-American” policy, including the study of the H-1B program and measures to beef up requirements for using U.S.-made materials in federal projects.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump made big promises about pressuring government and businesses to look to the U.S. first for both hiring and procurement. He also promised to shut down the H-1B program that is blamed for bringing in waves of lower-wage workers to take U.S. jobs, especially in high tech industry.

The reforms envisioned by Mr. Trump, including imposing higher fees and requiring guest workers possess at least a masters degree, would help transform the program into a visa program for high-skilled workers for which it was originally created.

However, Mr. Schumer said the desired outcome could be achieved immediately if Mr. Trump revived the bipartisan 2013 comprehensive immigration bill, which also provided a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants and called for enhanced border security and immigration enforcement.

“The Senate didn’t just pass a study. We passed real H-1B reform that would ensure outsourcing companies couldn’t gobble up the H-1B visas, give them away to low-wage workers and steal jobs out from under the nose of American workers,” he said.

“We didn’t just look at doing it. We didn’t just say do a study and claim that something is actually happening,” Mr. Schumer said. “We did it in comprehensive immigration reform. The president could simply adopt our proposal, which is strong and tough.”

The 2013 bill passed the Senate but died in the GOP-run House, where Republicans did not trust President Obama to carry out the border security and immigration enforcement measures.

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