Trump Said He Would Bring Jobs Back To The Country. He Just Quietly Hired 78 Foreign Workers.

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee Immigration Reporter, Think Progress

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed to bring jobs back to the country and force American companies to hire more domestic workers. Just don’t expect him to apply that to his own business: instead he is bringing 78 foreign workers to work two of his properties in Florida.

Earlier this month, Trump filed temporary visa applications for 78 positions for servers, housekeepers, and cooks to staff his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, citing an inability to find Americans who can fill the positions. The positions pay $10.17 an hour for housekeepers, $11.13 an hour for servers, and $12.74 for cooks, according to Buzzfeed.

From the moment he launched his presidential campaign, Trump has denigrated Mexican immigrants as rapists, criminals, and drug dealers. And on multiple occasions, he has supported the mass deportation of the country’s undocumented population.

Despite his harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy proposals, Trump has vigorously defended his own use of foreign workers, saying that it was hard to get Americans to take on seasonal jobs during the five-month period that he called “Palm Beach Season.”

“You can’t get help,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” last year. “Getting help in Palm Beach during the season is almost impossible.”

Yet, when Buzzfeed reached out to a nearby job placement agency, Tom Veenstra, a senior director at Palm Beach’s career services center, said there was a database of more than 1,300 people who had an interest in some of these very hospitality positions. Other hotels in the area have sought out Veenstra’s services, but Mar-a-Lago was not one of them.

If anything, Trump has proven to be more than comfortable and adept at finding foreign workers to staff his various properties. Undocumented construction workers were found to be working at his latest hotel in Washington, D.C. as well as in his restaurant in the chic SoHo neighborhood of New York City. And once he’s hired them, Trump has a habit of underpaying his employees, as he allegedly did with 200 undocumented Polish workers who were contracted to raze a building in midtown Manhattan to make room for his Trump Tower.

Congress sets an annual cap of about 66,000 H-2B visas for low-skilled, low wage workers, sometimes used for people who become cooks, housekeepers, and other hospitality position. These visas allow employees to legally stay in the United States so long as they stay in that specific job. But that has led to many instances of unscrupulous employers hiring guest workers and exploiting this provision to withhold wages and to threaten employees with deportation. Similar horror stories have played out among H-2A visa holders, who are usually foreigners hired for agricultural work when there’s a shortage of American workers.

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This was reposted from ThinkProgress.

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Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee is an Immigration Reporter/Blogger for ThinkProgress. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Middle East Studies and a M.A. in Psychology from New York University. A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary, Esther is passionate about immigration issues from all sides of the debate. She is originally from Los Angeles, CA.

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