‘America First?’ Trump Properties Favor Foreign Workers Over US 143 to 1 (Video)

Javier Zarracina/Vox

Remember Trump’s “America First” rhetoric?

According to a Vox analysis, hiring records for seasonal employees at threeTrump properties in New York and Florida reveal that from 2016 to the end of 2017 jobs went to only one out of 144 U.S. workers. The rest when to guest workers with H-2B visas.

So, about that “America First”…

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explanation:

“The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. A U.S. employer, or U.S. agent as described in the regulations, must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on a prospective worker’s behalf.”

Employers must first offer reasonably well-paying positions to American workers or legal immigrants already in the country. Only if they are unable to obtain enough adequate workers may employers request permission from the Department of Labor to hire foreign guest workers on H-2B visas.

Documents indicate Trump establishment hiring managers performed the minimum legal requirements in recruiting U.S. workers: advertise in local newspapers for two days, notify former employees via U.S. mail, post job notices conspicuously at respective clubs for current employees to view. Employers must also pay the average local wage for the advertised position.

According to recruitment reports submitted to the Department of Labor, Trump’s Florida Mar-a-Lago resort–the “Winter White House”–requested permission last August to hire 70 servers, housekeepers, and cooks for eight months, beginning this past October.

The club’s hiring manager explained in paperwork:

“Our temporary need is defined as a peak-load need and stems from the fact that The Mar-a-Lago Club operates in accordance with a private charter and is open to the membership throughout the year but with a well defined peak season between the months of October and May of every year. The period during which the foreign national’s services are needed is not unpredictable, subject to change or considered to be a vacation period for our employees who are hired on a permanent basis.”

After waiting the required month, the Mar-a-Lago hiring manager reported only seven U.S. workers responded to the newspaper ads, and they were unqualified, uninterested, or failed return telephone calls.

A similar situation occurred at Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York. Last April, the Labor Department permitted the club to hire all eight of its H-2B servers after no U.S. workers applied.

Last August, Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida was allowed to hire all 16 requested H-2B servers and cooks because, again, there were no U.S. applicants.

A total of 12 U.S. workers applied. One was hired.

Image credit: Javier Zarracina/Vox

Executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, Mark Krikorian, is a proponent of immigration restrictions. Normally supportive of the president’s immigration agenda, he said Trump’s Florida Mar-a-Lago resort is just using the H-2B program as a means to avoid paying higher wages or offering more benefits to attract American workers.

He said:

“It’s a bullshit law written to ensure that employers don’t have to hire Americans.”

2016-17 unemployment in the Miami area has been low, and it’s more difficult now for employers in South Florida to find workers than a few years ago.

Nonetheless, labor economists are puzzled over hotels or clubs having difficulty finding service employees.

Florida International University economics professor Tobias Pfutze said:

“It doesn’t make sense. I haven’t heard anything about there being a labor shortage. The service labor market here is very flexible.”

Over the past five years, Trump’s golf clubs and resorts have leaned heavily toward foreign workers. The H-2B database shows requests from Mar-a-Lago stretching all the way back to 2013.

Despite Trump’s “tough-on-immigration” stance on the campaign trail, as president he relaxed guest worker requirements to benefit his properties, raising the cap on H-2B visas from 66,000 to 81,000, restricting other legal immigration paths.

Image credit: Javier Zarracina/Vox

Ted Millar is poet and teacher. His poetry has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News and Liberal Nation Rising.