The "Almost One Year" Anniversary of the "Buy American and Hire American" Executive Order


On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed the Executive Order “Buy American and Hire American” (“BAHA”) encouraging “American” manufacturing to be conducted inside the United States, and encouraging the creation of higher wages for workers inside the United States through rigorously enforcing U.S. immigration laws. BAHA calls for a shift away from manufacturing goods outside of the United States to conducting production inside the United States. Additionally, BAHA calls for U.S. government agencies to enforce the Executive Order through monitoring business activities, and actions conducted within the United States.

Additionally, BAHA mandates an increase of enforcement of immigration rules, and policies by identifying individuals who do not have current legal status, or even identifying individuals who appear to not satisfy the requirements of their current nonimmigrant status. BAHA requires immediate and aggressive investigation of cases that fall into the category of immigration fraud or abuse. Within the context of the items stated above, an overstay of a visa, or an expiration of a work authorization card, or a low wage can be classified as fraud or abuse.

The two sides of BAHA, products almost entirely created in the United States, and stricter immigration enforcement, work together to create the desired result of the Executive Order—protecting “American Workers”. First, by mandating production to be conducted mostly inside the United States, Americans will in theory purchase exclusively American made products. Second, by rigorously enforcing tougher immigration policies towards foreign nationals, American owners of businesses will in theory hire more “Americans”.

Within the first 150 days of BAHA, Federal agencies were required to develop Federal programs, and rules to ensure that Federal financial assistance awards, and Federal procurements create a business environment in the United States for materials to be produced in the United States, and for products to be made entirely in the United States. Additionally, within the first 150 days of BAHA, all free trade agreements, and the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement were reviewed, and analyzed with the intent of fulfilling the objectives of BAHA.

Within 220 days of BAHA, the Secretary of Commerce along with the Secretary of State, the Director of the of Management and Budget, and the United States Trade Representative were required to submit a Report to President Trump regarding how to strengthen the implementation, and effect of BAHA—specifically including domestic procurement preference policies and programs. Also, the required agencies must submit subsequent BAHA implementation reports on November 15, 2018, November 15, 2019, and November 15, 2020.

And from the effective date of BAHA and throughout the duration of BAHA, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security are required from now on to propose new rules, and issue new guidance to supersede, and/or revise previous rules, and guidance when deemed needed, and appropriate in order to protect the interests of “United States workers’. Of course, this directive can be seen in the very recent change in the Mission Statement of the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services—removing the language of the United States as a “Nation of Immigrants”, and now focusing on the United States “protecting Americans”.

When BAHA was first announced almost a year ago, many immigration lawyers, and international business/trade lawyers were shocked about the intent, and language of the Executive Order, and mainly discussed the reasons for not having it at all. And shortly after that, there were many articles discussing BAHA’s effect(s) on the H-1B Nonimmigrant Worker program, or discussing the possibility of trade agreement “wars” occurring between the United States, and many of its trading partners. As of present, it appears that attorneys, similarly situated professionals, and the American public as a whole have moved onto other concerns such as new tax law(s), worries about rising inflation, and whether or not the United States will soon have driverless cars.

Within this current time period (of the writing of this article), it is essential to mark down in time, and on paper—whether it be print and/or electronic, the policy, and legal action of “protecting workers” which came to birth—or re-birth—almost a year ago—is now leaving the infancy period & now transitioning to the toddler stage in a year or so. And therefore by 2020 & beyond, BAHA will be a growing child with the ability to speak, and argue for itself. And as a child often does, BAHA will not only be learning only from others & its environment, but it will then be teaching others in turn & will be the focus of its world.

Even though BAHA is less than a year old, it is very apparent that it is not going away anytime soon, and most likely will be here for a very long time. For example, as the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Executive Order has shown to the American public, even if an Executive Order may later be viewed as unconstitutional & is fought in the court system, its effect(s), and its very life does not go away from the American culture, and people right away—if at all. Subsequently, even though the existence of BAHA may not make sense right now, or if at all—with the passing of time, the changing of language, and with memory being less pungent—BAHA is a fact, and item of essential detail which must be seen in its entirety of effect, and result.

About The Author

Terrence L. Olsen is the partner of Olsen Law Firm. He founded Olsen Law Firm in September 2003, and practices Immigration & Nationality Law exclusively. Terry has served, and continues to serve, the international community and his clients’ interests in the United States and internationally. By actively participating in government discussions of immigration law and policy, Terry is an active participant with the agencies governing immigration law, rather than being an observer on the sidelines.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.